Zoonotic multidrug-resistant microorganisms among small companion animals in Germany

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Antimicrobial multidrug-resistant microorganisms (MDRO) can be transmitted between companion animals and their human owners. Aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of extended spectrum beta-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (ESBL-E) and Staphylococcus aureus including methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) in different companion animal species. Dogs (n = 192), cats (n = 74), and rabbits (n = 17), treated in a veterinary practice and hospital or living in an animal shelter and private households, were sampled. All facilities were located in a region characterized by a high density of pig production. Nasal, buccal and perianal swabs were enriched and cultured on solid chromogenic selective media. A subgroup of 20 animals (13 dogs, 3 cats, 4 rabbits) was analyzed for the presence of staphylococci other than S. aureus. Amongst all animals (n = 283), twenty dogs (10.4%) and six cats (8.1%) carried S. aureus. MRSA was found in five dogs (2.6%) and two cats (2.7%). Isolates were of spa types t011, t034, t108 (all mecA-positive, ST398), and t843 (mecC-positive, ST130), typical for livestock-associated (LA)-MRSA. Except for one dog, MRSA-positive animals did not have direct contact to husbandry. ESBL-Escherichia coli (bla CTX-M /bla TEM /bla SHV genes) were present in seven dogs (3.6%), one cat (1.4%) possessed a cefotaxime-resistant Citrobacter freundii isolate (bla TEM /bla CMY-2 genes). MDRO carriage was associated with animals from veterinary medical settings (p<0.05). One dog and one rabbit carried methicillin-resistant coagulase-negative staphylococci. The exclusive occurrence of MRSA lineages typically described for livestock stresses the impact of MDRO strain dissemination across species barriers in regional settings. Presence of ESBL-E and LA-MRSA among pets and probable dissemination in clinical settings support the necessity of a “One Health” approach to address the potential threats due to MDRO-carrying companion animals.




Kaspar, U., von Lützau, A., Schlattmann, A., Roesler, U., Köck, R., & Becker, K. (2018). Zoonotic multidrug-resistant microorganisms among small companion animals in Germany. PLoS ONE, 13(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0208364

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