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

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SummaryThis 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 ofvanA-containing VRE. ThevanA-carrying VRE were testedin vitrofor mobility of vancomycin resistance traits. VRE were found in 62 (6%) of 1073 rook samples. Enterococcal species diversity comprisedEnterococcus gallinarum(48 isolates), followed byE. faecium(9) andE. faecalis(5). Eight VRE harboured thevanAandermBgenes. SevenvanA-carrying VRE originated from the Czech Republic and one from Germany. AllvanA-carrying VRE were identified asE. faecium. Based on MLST analysis, sixvanA-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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