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Vancomycin-resistant enterococci in rooks (Corvus frugilegus) wintering throughout Europe

Authors

  • Veronika Oravcova,

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Biology and Wildlife Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Hygiene and Ecology, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, Brno, Czech Republic
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  • Anuradha Ghosh,

    1. Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, KS, USA
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  • Ludek Zurek,

    1. Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, KS, USA
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  • Jan Bardon,

    1. State Veterinary Institute, Czech Republic
    2. Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Palacky University Olomouc, Czech Republic
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  • Sebastian Guenther,

    1. Institute of Microbiology and Epizootics, Veterinary Faculty, Free University Berlin, Germany
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  • Alois Cizek,

    1. Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, Brno, Czech Republic
    2. CEITEC VFU, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, Brno, Czech Republic
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  • Ivan Literak

    1. Department of Biology and Wildlife Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Hygiene and Ecology, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, Brno, Czech Republic
    2. CEITEC VFU, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, Brno, Czech Republic
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For correspondence. E-mail oravcova.veronica@gmail.com; Tel. (+420) 54156 2631; Fax (+420) 54156 2631.

Summary

This study's aims were to assess the prevalence of, and to characterize, vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) from rooks (Corvus frugilegus) wintering in Europe during 2010/2011. Faeces samples were cultivated selectively for VRE and characterized. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and multilocus sequence typing (MLST) were used to examine epidemiologic relationships of vanA-containing VRE. The vanA-carrying VRE were tested in vitro for mobility of vancomycin resistance traits. VRE were found in 62 (6%) of 1073 rook samples. Enterococcal species diversity comprised Enterococcus gallinarum (48 isolates), followed by E. faecium (9) and E. faecalis (5). Eight VRE harboured the vanA and ermB genes. Seven vanA-carrying VRE originated from the Czech Republic and one from Germany. All vanA-carrying VRE were identified as E. faecium. Based on MLST analysis, six vanA-positive isolates were grouped as ST92 type, one isolate belonged to ST121, and the remaining one was described as a novel type ST671. Seven out of eight isolates were able to transfer the vancomycin resistance trait via filter mating with a transfer rate of 8.95 ± 3.25 × 10−7 transconjugants per donor. In conclusion, wintering rooks in some European countries may disseminate clinically important enterococci and pose a risk for environmental contamination.

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