Variations in antibiotic resistance profile in Enterobacteriaceae isolated from wild Australian mammals


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We carried out a retrospective analysis of 946 strains of Enterobacteriaceae isolated from wild Australian mammals between 1993 and 1997. The prevalence of resistance to fixed concentrations of 32 antimicrobial agents was determined, and the respective roles that taxonomic family of the host, state of origin and bacterial species play in defining prevalence and range of resistance were investigated. Our results demonstrated a low but widespread prevalence of antimicrobial resistance in wild isolates. Only amikacin, ciprofloxacin, meropenem and gentamicin inhibited growth in all 946 samples. There was extensive variation in the combination of antibiotics to which isolates were resistant, and multiple antibiotic resistance was common. Geographical location and host group significantly influenced the antibiotic resistance profile of an isolate, whereas bacterial species influenced both the resistance profile of an isolate and the number of antibiotics it was resistant to. The role of these factors in determining observed antibiotic resistance profiles suggests that any study measuring resistance in wild isolates should include the broadest possible range of bacterial species, host species and sampling locations. As such, this study provides an important new baseline for future measurements of antibiotic resistance in the Australian environment.