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Frequency of virulence genes and antibiotic resistances in Enterococcus spp. isolates from wastewater and feces of domesticated mammals and birds, and wildlife

Lanthier, M., Scott, A., Lapen, D.R., Zhang, Y., Topp, E. (2010). Frequency of virulence genes and antibiotic resistances in Enterococcus spp. isolates from wastewater and feces of domesticated mammals and birds, and wildlife, 56(9), 715-729. http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/W10-046

Abstract

Enterococci are gastrointestinal tract residents and also an important cause of nosocomial infections. To understand which species, virulence determinants, and antibiotic resistances are prevalent in enterococci shed by various hosts groups, a total of 1460 strains isolated from 144 fecal samples obtained from wastewater, domesticated mammals and birds, and wildlife were characterized. Identification of isolates to the species level showed that Enterococcus faecalis was dominant in domesticated mammals and birds and wildlife feces, whereas Enterococcus faecium was dominant among wastewater isolates, and that no single Enterococcus species could be associated with a specific host group. The frequency of 12 virulence determinants was evaluated among isolates, but no single virulence determinant could be associated with a specific host group. Resistance to 12 antibiotics was evaluated among isolates, and it was shown that the highest frequency of resistance at breakpoint concentration was found in domesticated mammals and birds (P ≤ 0.05 for 4 antibiotics). Our results suggests that (1) species identification and virulence typing of Enterococcus spp. isolates are not useful for the identification of the host groups responsible for fecal contamination of water by microbial source tracking and that (2) antibiotic use for clinical, veterinary, or animal husbandry practices is promoting resistance.

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