Cloacal swabs from carcasses of Dutch wild birds obtained in 2010 and 2011 were selectively cultured on media with cefotaxime to screen for the presence of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)/AmpC-producing Escherichia coli. Subsequently, all cefotaxime-resistant E. coli isolates were tested by broth microdilution and microarray. The presence of ESBL/AmpC and coexisting plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance (PMQR) genes was confirmed by PCR and sequencing. To determine the size of plasmids and the location of ESBL and PMQR genes, S1 pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) was performed on transformants, followed by Southern blot hybridization. The study included 414 cloacal swabs originating from 55 different bird species. Cefotaxime-resistant E. coli isolates were identified in 65 birds (15.7%) from 21 different species. In all, 65 cefotaxime-resistant E. coli ESBL/AmpC genes were detected, mainly comprising variants of bla(CTX-M) and bla(CMY-2). Furthermore, PMQR genes [aac(6')-lb-cr, qnrB1, and qnrS1] coincided in seven cefotaxime-resistant E. coli isolates. Overall, replicon typing of the ESBL/AmpC-carrying plasmids demonstrated the predominant presence of IncI1 (n = 31) and variants of IncF (n = 18). Our results indicate a wide dissemination of ESBL and AmpC genes in wild birds from The Netherlands, especially among aquatic-associated species (waterfowl, gulls, and waders). The identified genes and plasmids reflect the genes found predominantly in livestock animals as well as in humans.
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