The frequency of tetracycline resistance genes in Escherichia coli strains isolated from healthy and diarrheic pet birds

Document Type : Short paper


1 Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Shahrekord Branch, Islamic Azad University, Shahrekord, Iran

2 Graduated from Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Shahrekord Branch, Islamic Azad University, Shahrekord, Iran

3 Department of Food Science and Technology, Ardestan Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ardestan, Iran


Background: Pet birds have close contact to human and resistant bacteria can transfer from birds to intestinal flora of human. Aims: This study was carried out to determine the tetracycline resistance genes in Escherichia coli strains associated with enteric problem in pet birds. Methods: Totally, 295 cloacal swabs were collected from 195 healthy and 100 diarrheic pet birds in Isfahan province, Iran. The presence of E. coli was identified by conventional bacteriological, biochemical, and molecular examinations. The presence of tetracycline resistance genes (tetA, tetB, tetC, tetD, tetE, tetG, tetK, tetL, tetM, tetO, and tetS genes) were examined using three multiplex PCR. Results: The results showed that 18.9% and 43% of cloacal samples of healthy and diarrheic pet birds contained E. coli, respectively. The mean percentage of E. coli isolated from cloacal samples of diarrheic birds was significantly higher than the healthy birds (46.6 vs 23.1%). In healthy birds, out of 37 E. coli isolates, 10 isolates were resistant to tetracycline, harboring tetA and tetB genes (3 tetA vs 7 tetB), but in the diarrheic birds, of 26 resistance E. coli, 11, 12, and 3 strains contained tetA (42.3%), tetB (46.15), and tetA+tetB (11.53%) genes. The percentage of tet genes were significantly higher in diarrheic birds than healthy birds (58.9 vs 24.0%). Conclusion: Both resistant genes of tetA and tetB were detected in E. coli isolates that are related with efflux pump activity. These genes can be transferred between Gram-negative bacteria and they have the potential ability to be transferred to the environment and human flora.


Main Subjects

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