Wild owls colonized by international clones of extended-spectrum β-lactamase (CTX-M)-producing Escherichia coli and Salmonella Infantis in the Southern Cone of America

Danny Fuentes-Castillo, Mariella Farfán-López, Fernanda Esposito, Quézia Moura, Miriam R. Fernandes, Ralf Lopes, Brenda Cardoso, Maria E. Muñoz, Louise Cerdeira, Ignacia Najle, Patricio M. Muñoz, José L. Catão-Dias, Daniel González-Acuña, Nilton Lincopan

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46 Citations (Scopus)


Extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs)-producing Enterobacteriaceae have been classified as critical priority pathogens by the World Health Organization (WHO). We have conducted a microbiological and genomic surveillance study, in order to investigate the occurrence and features of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in wild birds admitted to a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre in Chile. This study reports for the first time the occurrence of highly virulent ESBL-producing Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica serovar Infantis in wild owls inhabiting the Southern Cone of America. Genomic analysis revealed a wide resistome (for antibiotics, heavy metals and disinfectants) among international lineages of E. coli belonging to ST345 and ST2705, and S. Infantis ST32, producing CTX-M-8 or CTX-M-65 ESBLs. On the other hand, wide virulome was associated with a highly virulent behaviour in the Galleria mellonella infection model. Worryingly, all these lineages have been previously reported in humans, supporting that wide resistome and virulome could be contributing to rapid adaptation and dissemination of these clones at the human-animal-environment interface. In summary, wild owls can constitute environmental reservoirs of international clones of ESBL (CTX-M)-producing E. coli and S. Infantis carrying a wide resistome and virulome, in the Southern Cone of America, with potential risks to human, animal and environmental health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)554-562
Number of pages9
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Birds
  • Environmental contamination
  • Heavy metals
  • S. Infantis ST32
  • Wildlife

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