The presence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) Escherichia coli has recently been reported in wild birds (gulls and birds of prey) that had no apparent exposure to antimicrobials. Little work has been done to assess the role of the food chain in the emergence and spread of MDR E. coli. In this study, we evaluated the presence of MDR E. coli in 29 fecal samples collected from wild birds living in a rehabilitation center (the center receives injured animals found in their natural habitat) and in eight feed samples. In total, 166 E. coli isolates were obtained: 129 from cloacal swabs and 37 from raw feed samples. The antimicrobial resistance profile of these isolates was determined, and we found that 75 isolates showed resistance to five or more drugs, resulting in a total of 38 different antimicrobial resistance patterns. Subsequently, the molecular characterization of 36 isolates, performed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, revealed a great similarity between isolates collected from various species of birds and also between these last ones and the ones found in their feed samples.
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