Editor: Riks Laanbroek
Occurrence and patterns of antibiotic resistance in vertebrates off the Northeastern United States coast
Article first published online: 29 JAN 2009
© 2009 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved
FEMS Microbiology Ecology
Volume 67, Issue 3, pages 421–431, March 2009
How to Cite
Rose, J. M., Gast, R. J., Bogomolni, A., Ellis, J. C., Lentell, B. J., Touhey, K. and Moore, M. (2009), Occurrence and patterns of antibiotic resistance in vertebrates off the Northeastern United States coast. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 67: 421–431. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2009.00648.x
- Issue published online: 2 FEB 2009
- Article first published online: 29 JAN 2009
- Received 31 July 2008; revised 12 November 2008; accepted 5 December 2008.First published online January 2009.
- antibiotic resistance;
The prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the marine environment is a growing concern, but the degree to which marine mammals, seabirds and fish harbor these organisms is not well documented. This project sought to identify the occurrence and patterns of antibiotic resistance in bacteria isolated from vertebrates of coastal waters in the northeastern United States. Four hundred and seventy-two isolates of clinical interest were tested for resistance to a suite of 16 antibiotics. Fifty-eight percent were resistant to at least one antibiotic, while 43% were resistant to multiple antibiotics. A multiple antibiotic resistance index value ≥0.2 was observed in 38% of the resistant pathogens, suggesting exposure of the animals to bacteria from significantly contaminated sites. Groups of antibiotics were identified for which bacterial resistance commonly co-occurred. Antibiotic resistance was more widespread in bacteria isolated from seabirds than marine mammals, and was more widespread in stranded or bycaught marine mammals than live marine mammals. Structuring of resistance patterns based on sample type (live/stranded/bycaught) but not animal group (mammal/bird/fish) was observed. These data indicate that antibiotic resistance is widespread in marine vertebrates, and they may be important reservoirs of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the marine environment.