Comparative analysis of multidrug resistance plasmids and genetic background of CTX-M-producing Escherichia coli recovered from captive wild animals

Multiple interlinked factors are associated with the global resistome, whereas multidrug-resistant (MDR) pathogens have been related to increased mortality rates in humans and animals. CTX-M-type is the most prevalent extended-spectrum -lactamase (ESBL) among Enterobacteriaceae, which raises concern worldwide. Zoological gardens have a high density of animals that live very close to each other and to humans. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate through the whole-genome sequencing (WGS) MDR Escherichia coli lineages obtained from captivity wild animals in a zoo. Genetic background showed a wide resistome for antimicrobials (e.g., blaCTX-M-65, blaCTX-M-8, blaCMY-2, qnrB19), metals (e.g., pcoABCDERS, silABCEP, merACDEPRT), and antibacterial biocides (e.g., sugE, mdfA) among MDR CTX-M-producing E. coli belonging to CC155 and CC156. Mobilome analysis revealed several plasmids, and eight of them were completely characterized, which showed different backbone-encoding genes. Comparative analysis of plasmids blaCTX-M-65/IncHI2-ST3, blaCTX-M-8/IncI1-ST113, and IncQ1 showed a high identity among plasmids obtained from humans and animals worldwide distributed. Besides, several virulence genes, CRISPR, and prophage-related sequences were also detected. The occurrence of MDR E. coli belonging to CCs closely related to humans and food-producing animals and the high similarity among the plasmids from MDR E. coli carrying clinically significant antimicrobial resistance genes may indicate intercontinental dissemination of these lineages and plasmids. Therefore, these findings contribute to the monitoring of antimicrobial resistance and the human-animal-environment interface worldwide.

Ticks infesting captive and free-roaming wild animal species at the São Paulo Zoo, São Paulo, Brazil

Ticks are ectoparasites of worldwide distribution that affect vertebrates and can transmit pathogens to animals and humans. The Zoological Park Foundation of São Paulo (FPZSP) is located in a Conservation Unit in one of the most important remaining fragments of the Atlantic Rainforest biome in the suburbs of São Paulo, Brazil. The FPZSP houses more than 3,000 wild animals on exhibit, in breeding programs and in environmental education programs, and also attracts migratory birds and free-roaming wildlife. This study focused on identifying the diversity of tick species that infest captive and free-roaming animals at the FPZSP. The collection of ticks kept at the FPZSP contains 523 specimens that were collected from different host species between 1990 and 2017. Ten tick species were found. In addition, Amblyomma aureolatum (Pallas) was found on stray cats living in the Atlantic forest fragment in the FPZSP. This study reveals a low occurrence of parasitism in captive animals and a high diversity of tick species collected from hosts in this Atlantic forest fragment, contributing information about host-parasite relationships and potential vectors of zoonotic diseases, since the vectors of Brazilian spotted fever, A. aureolatum and Amblyomma sculptum Berlese, were found in some hosts.

Arthropod-borne pathogens circulating in free-roaming domestic cats in a zoo environment in Brazil

Recently, tick and flea-borne pathogens have been detected in wild carnivores maintained in captivity inBrazilian zoos. Since free-roaming cats are frequently found in Brazilian zoos, they could act as reservoirsfor arthropod-borne pathogens, which could be transmitted to endangered wild carnivores maintainedin captivity in these institutions. On the other hand, stray cats in zoos may play a role as sentinels topathogens that circulate among wild animals in captivity. The present work aimed to detect the presenceof Anaplasmataceae agents, hemoplasmas, Bartonella species, piroplasmas, and Hepatozoon sp. DNA inblood samples of 37 free-roaming cats in a Brazilian zoo. Three (8%) cats were positive for Anaplasma spp.closed related to Anaplasma phagocytophilum; 12 (32%) cats were positive for hemoplasmas [two (5%)for Mycoplasma haemofelis, five (13.5%) for Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum, and five (13.5%) forCandidatus Mycoplasma turicensis]; 11 (30%) were positive for Bartonella spp., six (16%) were positiveBabesia vogeli and one (3%) for Theileria sp. Coinfection with multiple arthropod-borne agentes wasobserved in sampled cats. None of sampled cats were positive for Ehrlichia spp., Cytauxzoon spp., orHepatozoon spp. in PCR. This is the first molecular detection of Babesia vogeli and Theileria sp. in domesticcats in Brazil. The control of the population of free-roaming cats in these conservation institutions ismuch needed aiming to prevent the potential transmission to endangered wild animals maintained incaptivity, such as wild neotropical wild felids, as well as to human beings visiting zoos