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Infect Ecol Epidemiol. 2015 Feb 4;5:25334. doi: 10.3402/iee.v5.25334. eCollection 2015.

Putative connection between zoonotic multiresistant extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli in dog feces from a veterinary campus and clinical isolates from dogs.

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Centre for Infection Medicine, Institute of Microbiology and Epizootics, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany;
Centre for Infection Medicine, Institute of Microbiology and Epizootics, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
Institute of Hygiene and Infectious Diseases of Animals, Justus-Liebig Universität Giessen, Giessen, Germany.
Clinic of Small Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany.



To contribute to the understanding of multiresistant bacteria, a 'One Health' approach in estimating the rate of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli and getting insights into the transmission from clinical settings to the surrounding environment was employed by collecting fecal samples of dogs in a public area. Isolates were compared to those from samples of diseased dogs from a nearby small-animal clinic.


One hundred fecal samples of dogs were collected on a single day in the public area of a veterinary faculty with a small-animal clinic and adjacent residential neighborhoods. All identified ESBL-producing strains were isolated by selective plating, genotypically analyzed by DNA microarray, polymerase chain reaction, sequence analysis, and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and compared to 11 clinical ESBL/AmpC-producing E. coli isolated from diseased dogs treated in the small-animal clinic 2 months before and 2 months following the environmental sampling collection.


Fourteen percent (14/100) of the extra-clinical samples harbored phenotypic ESBL/putative AmpC-producing E. coli with additional resistances against other antimicrobials. One ESBL-strain displayed an identical macrorestriction pattern to one clinical, another one to three clinical clonal ESBL-producing strains. The genotypic ESBL-determinants (blaCTX-M-1 and blaCTX-M-15) and detection rates (10%) in dog feces collected outside of the small-animal clinic are comparable to the rates and ESBL-types in the healthy human population in Germany and to clinical and non-clinical samples of humans and companion animals in Europe. The occurrence of identical strains detected both outside and inside the clinical setting suggests a connection between the small-animal clinic and the surrounding environment. In conclusion, dog feces collected in proximity to veterinary facilities should be considered as a non-point infection source of zoonotic ESBL-producing E. coli for both animals and humans. The common sniffing behavior of dogs further urges hygienic measures on the part of dog-patient owners, who should be educated to remove their pet's feces immediately and effectively.


antimicrobial resistance; clonality; environmental spread; shared ESBL-STs; urban environments

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