Antimicrobial-resistant Escherichia coli and Enterococcus spp. isolated from Miranda donkey (Equus asinus): an old problem from a new source with a different approach

Isabel Carvalho, Rosa del Campo, Margarida Sousa, Nuno Silva, Joao Carrola, Catarina Marinho, Tiago Santos, Silvia Carvalho, Miguel Nóvoa, Miguel Quaresma , Jose Eduardo Pereira, Marta Cobo, Gilberto Igrejas, Patricia Poeta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose. The Miranda donkey (Equus asinus) is an endangeredasinine from Miranda do Douro region, located in the north east of Portugal. We studied the antimicrobial resistance and virulence genes in Escherichia coli and Enterococcus spp. isolates from these animals.

Methodology. In March 2014, a total of 66 faecal samples were recovered from independent animals. Antibiotic resistance was determined by the disc diffusion method. Carriage of genes coding for antibiotic-resistant and virulent factors was analysed by PCR.

Results. A total of 66 E. coli and 41 enterococcal isolates were detected, with Enterococcus faecium (61 %) and Enterococcus hirae (24 %) being the most prevalent species. For enterococcal isolates, high percentages of resistance rates to tetracycline (68.3 %), quinupristin/dalfopristin (51.2 %) and ciprofloxacin (48.8 %) were observed. The genes erm(A) and/or erm(B), tet(M) and/or tet(L), vat(D) and/or vat(E) and aph(3′)-IIIa were also found. The most frequent virulence gene detected was gel(E), followed by ace, cpd and hyl. Escherichia coli isolates were highly resistant to streptomycin (78 %), whereas 39 % of them exhibited resistance to aminoglycosides and tetracycline. Genes sul1 and/or sul2 were detected in 66.7 % of trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole-resistant isolates. The virulence genes detected were fim(A) (46 %) and cnf1 (27 %).

Conclusion.. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report showing antibiotic resistance among Escherichia coli and Enterococcus spp. isolates from the Miranda donkey in Portugal, indicating possible antibiotic-resistant bacterial reservoirs. However, the detection of these resistances presents a low risk for other animals and human beings in that rural area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191–202
JournalJournal of Medical Microbiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


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