Skip to main content

Analysis of fecal samples from Amami rabbits (Pentalagus furnessi) indicates low levels of antimicrobial resistance in Escherichia coli

Abstract

In recent years, antimicrobial-resistant bacteria have been isolated from different wildlife species that have not been exposed to antibiotics. Antimicrobial resistance profile analysis of wildlife-derived Escherichia coli is one of the ways to obtain information about changes in wildlife habitats. The Amami rabbit (Pentalagus furnessi) is one of the Japanese endemic wildlife species that requires conservation due to its declining population. However, detailed information on its ecology, including habitat, is unclear. We conducted antimicrobial susceptibility testing (broth microdilution assay) of 12 antimicrobials on 135 E. coli strains isolated from the feces of free-living Amami rabbits, collected between 2017 and 2020. No antimicrobial-resistant E. coli were isolated from any sample, indicating that antimicrobial-resistant E. coli were not widely distributed in the Amami rabbit population. In addition, these results suggested that the habitat of Amami rabbits may not be contaminated with antimicrobials derived from humans, Japanese livestock, and wildlife that come in contact with the rabbits. This is the first study to examine the antimicrobial resistance of bacterial isolates from the Amami rabbits for a multi-year period. In order to observe changes in wildlife habitats on the Amami-Oshima Island, inhabited by many rare species including Amami rabbits, continued surveillance of antimicrobial-resistant E. coli in wildlife is necessary.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

References

  1. Asai T, Usui M, Sugiyama M, Izumi K, Ikeda T, Andoh M (2020) Antimicrobial susceptibility of Escherichia coli isolates obtained from wild mammals between 2013 and 2017 in Japan. J Vet Med Sci 82:345–349

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Bengtsson-Palme J, Kristiansson E, Larsson DGJ (2018) Environmental factors influencing the development and spread of antibiotic resistance. FEMS Microbiol Rev 42

  3. Harada K, Asai T (2010) Role of antimicrobial selective pressure and secondary factors on antimicrobial resistance prevalence in Escherichia coli from food-producing animals in Japan. J Biomed Biotechnol 2010:180682

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Hassell JM, Ward MJ, Muloi D, Bettridge JM, Robinson TP, Kariuki S, Ogendo A, Kiiru J, Imboma T, Kang'ethe EK, Öghren EM, Williams NJ, Begon M, Woolhouse MEJ, Fèvre EM (2019) Clinically relevant antimicrobial resistance at the wildlife-livestock-human interface in Nairobi: an epidemiological study. Lancet Planet Health 3:e259–e269

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Ishihara K, Kanamori K, Asai T, Kojima A, Takahashi T, Ueno H, Muramatsu Y, Tamura Y (2011) Antimicrobial susceptibility of Escherichia coli isolates from wild mice in a forest of a natural park in Hokkaido, Japan. J Vet Med Sci 73:1191–1193

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan (2020). National Parks of Japan. Available online at https://www.env.go.jp/en/nature/nps/park/index.html. Accessed 18 August 2020

  7. Nakamura I, Obi T, Sakemi Y, Nakayama A, Miyazaki K, Ogura G, Tamaki M, Oka T, Takase K, Miyamoto A, Kawamoto Y (2011) The prevalence of antimicrobial-resistant Escherichia coli in two species of invasive alien mammals in Japan. J Vet Med Sci 73:1067–1070

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Obi T, Chibana M, Taira C, Nakayama A, Miyazaki K, Takase K, Nakamura I, Miyamoto A, Kawamoto Y (2014) Antimicrobial susceptibility in Enterobacteriaceae recovered from Okinawa least horseshoe bat Rhinolophus pumilus. Wildlife Biol 20:64–66

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Ogawa K, Yamaguchi K, Suzuki M, Tsubota T, Ohya K, Fukushi H (2011) Genetic characteristics and antimicrobial resistance of Escherichia coli from Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) in rural Japan. J Wildl Dis 47:261–270

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Pipová M, Jevinová P, Kmeť V, Regecová I, Marušková K (2012) Antimicrobial resistance and species identification of staphylococci isolated from the meat of wild rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) in Slovakia. Eur J Wildl Res 58:157–165

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Shionosaki K, Yamada F, Ishikawa T, Shibata S (2015) Feral cat diet and predation on endangered endemic mammals on a biodiversity hot spot (Amami–Ohshima Island, Japan). Wildl Res 42:343–352

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Silva N, Igrejas G, Figueiredo N, Gonçalves A, Radhouani H, Rodrigues J, Poeta P (2010) Molecular characterization of antimicrobial resistance in enterococci and Escherichia coli isolates from European wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Sci Total Environ 408:4871–4876

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Suenaga Y, Obi T, Ijiri M, Chuma T, Fujimoto Y (2019) Surveillance of antibiotic resistance in Escherichia coli isolated from wild cranes on the Izumi plain in Kagoshima prefecture, Japan. J Vet Med Sci 81:1291–1293

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Marinho C, Igrejas G, Gonçalves A, Silva N, Santos T, Monteiro R, Gonçalves D, Rodrigues T, Poeta P (2014) Azorean wild rabbits as reservoirs of antimicrobial resistant Escherichia coli. Anaerobe 30:116–119

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Vittecoq M, Godreuil S, Prugnolle F, Durand P, Brazier L, Renaud N, Arnal A, Aberkane S, Jean-Pierre H, Gauthier-Clerc M, Thomas F, Renaud F (2016) Antimicrobial resistance in wildlife. J Appl Ecol 53:519–529

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Yamada F, Cervantes FA (2005) Pentalagus furnessi. Mammal Spec 782:1–5

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Yamada F, Sugimura K, Abe S, Handa Y (2000) Present status and conservation of the endangered Amami rabbit Pentalagus furnessi. Tropics 10:87–92

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Yamada F, Takaki M, Suzuki H (2002) Molecular phylogeny of Japanese Leporidae, the Amami rabbit Pentalagus furnessi, the Japanese hare Lepus brachyurus, and the mountain hare Lepus timidus, inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequences. Genes Genet Syst 77:107–116

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

The authors gratefully acknowledge International Center for Island Studies, Amami Station, Kagoshima University for technical advice.

Funding

This work was supported by the discretionary budget of the president of Kagoshima University, “Establishment of Research and Education Network on Biodiversity and Its Conservation in the Satsunan Islands” project of Kagoshima University adopted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology-Japan (MEXT), and JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers 19K06424 and 18H04073.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yoshikazu Fujimoto.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Matsunaga, N., Suzuki, M., Andoh, M. et al. Analysis of fecal samples from Amami rabbits (Pentalagus furnessi) indicates low levels of antimicrobial resistance in Escherichia coli. Eur J Wildl Res 66, 84 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-020-01424-8

Download citation

Keywords

  • Amami rabbit
  • Japanese endemic species
  • Endangered species
  • Escherichia coli
  • Antimicrobial resistance