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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: High prevalence of multidrug-tolerant bacteria and associated antimicrobial resistance genes isolated from ornamental fish and their carriage water

item Verner-jefferies, David
item Welch, Timothy - Tim
item Schwarz, Tamar
item Pond, Michelle
item Woodward, Martin
item Haig, Sarah
item Rimmer, Georgina
item Roberts, Edward
item Morrison, Victoria
item Baker-austin, Craig

Submitted to: PLoS One
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/15/2009
Publication Date: 12/21/2009
Citation: Verner-Jefferies, D., Welch, T.J., Schwarz, T., Pond, M.J., Woodward, M.J., Haig, S.J., Rimmer, G.S., Roberts, E., Morrison, V., Baker-Austin, C. 2009. High prevalence of multidrug-tolerant bacteria and associated antimicrobial resistance genes isolated from ornamental fish and their carriage water. PLoS One. 4(12):1-9.

Interpretive Summary: Antimicrobial resistance in bacterial pathogens causes serious human and animal health issues. It is becoming increasingly important to identify potential sources of antimicrobial resistance so that management strategies can be developed to limit the spread of resistance. We investigated the prevalence of antimicrobial resistant bacteria and antimicrobial resistance genes associated with ornamental pet fish. Our results indicate that antimicrobial resistance in tested isolates was surprisingly high. For example, approximately half (47/95) of the bacterial isolates from warmwater pet fish species were individually resistant to 21 different antibiotics, representing at least ten different classes of antimicrobial drug. Our results suggest that bacteria associated with ornamental pet fish are a potential reservoir for mobilizable antibiotic resistance.

Technical Abstract: Objectives: The aim of the study was to assess the extent to which ornamental fish and their carriage water harbour antibiotic resistant bacteria and associated antibiotic resistance genes. Methods: 129 Aeromonas spp. isolated from warm water and coldwater ornamental fish species were screened for resistance to 38 antimicrobials and the presence of class 1 integrons, resistance genes and plasmids associated with antibiotic resistance. Results: 67 of the 95 Aeromonas spp. isolates recovered from tropical ornamental fish and their carriage water were individually resistant to 21 antibiotics, representing ten or more different classes of antimicrobial. The transferable quinolone and fluoroquinolone resistance gene, qnrS2, was detected at high frequency (48/129 tested isolates were positive by PCR). Class 1 integrons, IncA/C broad host range plasmids and a range of other antibiotic resistance genes, including floR, blaTEM-1, blaOXA-2, tetA, tetD, tetE, quacE2, and a number of different dihydrofolate reducatase and aminoglycoside transferase coding genes were also detected by PCR in water sample bacterial communities and isolates. Conclusions: Ornamental fish and their carriage water likely act as a reservoir for both multiresistant bacteria and resistance genes.

Last Modified: 07/26/2017
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