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Virulence genes, antibiotic resistance and integrons in Escherichia coli strains isolated from synanthropic birds from Spain

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The aim of this study was to determine the presence of virulence genes and antibiotic resistance profiles in 164 Escherichia coli strains isolated from birds (feral pigeons, hybrid ducks, house sparrows and spotless starlings) inhabiting urban and rural environments. A total of eight atypical enteropathogenic E. coli strains were identified: one in a house sparrow, four in feral pigeons and three in spotless starlings. Antibiotic resistance was present in 32.9% (54) of E. coli strains. The dominant type of resistance was to tetracycline (21.3%), ampicillin (19.5%) and sulfamethoxazole (18.9%). Five isolates had class 1 integrons containing gene cassettes encoding for dihydrofolate reductase A (dfrA) and aminoglycoside adenyltransferase A (aadA), one in a feral pigeon and four in spotless starlings. To our knowledge, the present study constitutes the first detection of virulence genes from E. coli in spotless starlings and house sparrows, and is also the first identification worldwide of integrons containing antibiotic resistance gene cassettes in E. coli strains from spotless starlings and pigeons.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Group of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, Animal Health Research Centre (CISA-INIA), Madrid, Spain 2: Section of Enterobacteriaceae, Unit of Bacteriology, National Centre for Microbiology, Institute of Health Carlos III, Majadahonda, Spain

Publication date: March 4, 2014

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