Microbial Ecology

, Volume 72, Issue 4, pp 813–820 | Cite as

Characterization of fecal vancomycin-resistant enterococci with acquired and intrinsic resistance mechanisms in wild animals, Spain

  • Carmen Lozano
  • David Gonzalez-Barrio
  • Maria Cruz Camacho
  • Jose Francisco Lima-Barbero
  • Javier de la Puente
  • Ursula Höfle
  • Carmen TorresEmail author
Environmental Microbiology


The objectives were to evaluate the presence of vancomycin-resistant enterococci with acquired (VRE-a) and intrinsic (VRE-i) resistance mechanisms in fecal samples from different wild animals, and analyze their phenotypes and genotypes of antimicrobial resistance. A total of 348 cloacal/rectal samples from red-legged partridges (127), white storks (81), red kites (59), and wild boars (81) (June 2014/February 2015) were inoculated in Slanetz-Bartley agar supplemented with vancomycin (4 μg/mL). We investigated the susceptibility to 12 antimicrobials and the presence of 19 antimicrobial resistance and five virulence genes. In addition, we performed multilocus sequence typing, detection of IS16 and studied Tn1546 structure. One VRE-a isolate was identified in one wild boar. This isolate was identified as Enterococcus faecium, harbored vanA gene included into Tn1546 (truncated with IS1542/IS1216), and belonged to the new ST993. This isolate contained the erm(A), erm(B), tet(M), dfrG, and dfrK genes. Neither element IS16 nor the studied virulence genes were detected. Ninety-six VRE-i isolates were identified (89 Enterococcus gallinarum and seven Enterococcus casseliflavus), with the following prevalence: red kites (71.2 %), white storks (46.9 %), red-legged partridges (7.9 %), and wild boars (4.9 %). Most E. gallinarum isolates showed resistance to tetracycline (66.3 %) and/or erythromycin (46.1 %). High-level resistance to aminoglycosides was present among our VRE-i isolates: kanamycin (22.9 %), streptomycin (11.5 %), and gentamicin (9.4 %). In general, VRE-i isolates of red kites showed higher rates of resistance for non-glycopeptide agents than those of other animal species. The dissemination of acquired resistance mechanisms in natural environments could have implications in the global spread of resistance with public health implications.


vanA E. faecium ST993 vanC Birds Wild boar 



This work was supported by Project SAF2012-35474 from the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (MINECO) of Spain and the Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional (FEDER), the project POIC-2014-001-P of the regional government of Castilla–La Mancha, and by the project RTA2011-00111-C03-02 from the National Institute for Research in Agricultural and Alimentary Technology (INIA), by CDTI (Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial, MINECO). Carmen Lozano has a contract associated with Project SAF2012-35474. Red kite trapping activities were developed by staff and volunteers of SEO-Monticola and Fondo de Amigos del Buitre within the framework of the red kite monitoring project at the Binaced Supplementary Feeding Point with the kind authorization of the Government of the Autonomous Regions of Aragón. We are especially indebted to Manuel Aguilera for help with trapping red kites in Huesca, and we acknowledge collaboration from Dr. Francisco Ruiz-Fons from IREC.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Área Bioquímica y Biología MolecularUniversidad de La RiojaLogroñoSpain
  2. 2.Grupo SaBio (Sanidad y Biotecnología) Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos IREC (CSIC-UCLM-JCCM)Ciudad RealSpain
  3. 3.Grupo Ornitológico SEO-Monticola, Unidad de ZoologíaUniversidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain

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