Indexed on: 06 Feb '16Published on: 06 Feb '16Published in: PloS one
Seabirds may be responsible for the spread of pathogenic/resistant organisms over great distances, playing a relevant role within the context of the One World, One Health concept. Diarrheagenic E. coli strains, known as STEC (shiga toxin-producing E. coli), and the extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC and the subpathotype APEC), are among the E. coli pathotypes with zoonotic potential associated with the birds. In order to identify health threats carried by frigates and to evaluate the anthropic influence on the southern coast of Brazil, the aim of this work was to characterize E. coli isolated from free-ranging frigates in relation to virulence genotypes, serotypes, phylogenetic groups and antimicrobial resistance. Cloacal and choanal swabs were sampled from 38 Fregata magnificens from two oceanic islands and one rescue center. Forty-three E. coli strains were recovered from 33 out of the 38 birds (86.8%); 88.4% of strains showed some of the virulence genes (VGs) searched, 48.8% contained three or more VGs. None of the strains presented VGs related to EPEC/STEC. Some of the isolates showed virulence genotypes, phylogenetic groups and serotypes of classical human ExPEC or APEC (O2:H7, O1:H6, ONT:H7, O25:H4). Regarding antimicrobial susceptibility, 62.8% showed resistance, and 11.6% (5/43) were multidrug-resistant. The E. coli present in the intestines of the frigates may reflect the environmental human impact on southeast coast of Brazil; they may also represent an unexplored threat for seabird species, especially considering the overlap of pathogenic potential and antimicrobial resistance present in these strains.