Evidence of colistin resistance genes (mcr-1 and mcr-2) in wild birds and its public health implication in Egypt

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Background: Antimicrobial resistance has become one of the most severe global threats to human and veterinary Medicine. colistin is an effective therapeutic agent against multi-drug-resistant pathogens. However, the discovery of transferable plasmids that confer resistance to colistin (mcr-1) has led to challenges in medical science. This study describes the role of wild birds in the harbouring and environmental spread of colistin-resistant bacteria, which could pose a potential hazard to human and animal health. Methods: In total, 140 faecal samples from wild birds (migratory and resident birds) were tested. Twenty surface water samples were collected from the area in which wild bird trapping was conducted, and 50 human stool samples were collected from individuals residing near the surface water sources and farm buildings. Isolation and identification of Enterobacteriaceae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa from the different samples were performed using conventional culture techniques and biochemical identification. PCR amplification of the mcr genes was performed in all positive isolates. Sequencing of mcr-1 genes from three randomly selected E. coli carrying mcr-1 isolates; wild birds, water and humans was performed. Result: The bacteriological examination of the samples showing isolates of Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Klebsiella oxytoca and P. aeruginosa. The results of multiplex PCR of the mcr genes revealed that E. coli was the most prevalent gram-negative bacterium harbouring the mcr genes, whereas a low prevalence was observed for K. pneumoniae. The prevalence of mcr-1 in resident birds, migratory birds, water sources and humans were 10.4, 20,16.6 and 9.6% while the prevalence of mcr-2 were 1.4, 3.6, 11.1 and 9.6%, respectively. Sequencing of the mcr-1 gene from the three E. coli carrying mcr-1 isolates indicated a possible correlation between the wild bird and surface water isolates. Conclusion: The detection of mcr-1-positive bacteria in wild birds in Egypt indicates the possible environmental dissemination of this gene through bird activity. The impact of the interaction between domestic and wild animals on public health cannot be overlooked.




Ahmed, Z. S., Elshafiee, E. A., Khalefa, H. S., Kadry, M., & Hamza, D. A. (2019). Evidence of colistin resistance genes (mcr-1 and mcr-2) in wild birds and its public health implication in Egypt. Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13756-019-0657-5

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