Identification of shiga toxin and intimin coding genes in Escherichia coli isolates from pigeons (Columba livia) in relation to phylotypes and antibiotic resistance patterns
Ghanbarpour, R.; Daneshdoost, S.
Tropical Animal Health and Production 44(2): 307-312
Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains are responsible for outbreaks of human intestinal diseases worldwide. Pigeons are distributed in public areas and are potential reservoirs for pathogenic bacteria. One hundred fifty-four fresh fecal samples were obtained from trapped pigeons in southeast of Iran and were cultured for isolation of E. coli. The isolates were examined to determine the prevalence of stx1, stx2, and eae genes, antimicrobial resistance, and their phylotypes. The confirmed E. coli isolates (138) belong to four phylogenetic groups: A (54.34%), B1 (34.05%), B2 (3.62%), and D (7.79%). Thirteen (9.42%) isolates were positive for one of the examined genes. Eight isolates (5.79%) were positive for eae, four (2.89%) for stx2, and one isolate (1.44%) for stx1 gene. Phylotyping assays showed that eight eae-positive isolates fall into three phylogroups; A (three isolates), B1 (three isolates), and D (two isolates), whereas four stx2-positive isolates belonged to the A (three isolates) and D (one isolate) groups. The stx1-positive isolate belonged to phylogroup A. One hundred six isolates (76.81%) showed resistance to at least one of the selected antibacterial agents. The maximum resistance rate was against oxytetracycline (73.91%), and the minimum was against flumequine (2.17%). Twenty different patterns of drug resistance were observed. According to the results, pigeons could be considered as carriers of STEC strains. However, E. coli isolates of pigeon feces increase the potential of these birds to act as a reservoir of multiple antibiotic resistant bacteria.