Coexistence of Virulence and Antibiotic Resistance Genes in Pasteurella multocida Isolated from Diseased Rabbits

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Avian and Rabbit Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Zagazig University, Zagazig, Sharkia, 44519, Egypt

2 Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Zagazig University, 44519 Zagazig, Sharkia, Egypt


Pasteurella multocida (P. multocida)is considered a predominant pathogenic bacterial agent causing respiratory manifestations (snuffles) in rabbits with considerable economic losses and unfavorable prognosis in Egypt. A few recent P. multocida strains exhibit resistance to the most commonly used antibiotics in the veterinary field. Therefore, the present study was carried out to investigate the prevalence of both virulence and antibiotic resistance genes among P. multocida isolated from diseased rabbits in Sharkia Governorate, Egypt. Only 10 out of 100 tested rabbits` nasal swabs were finally confirmed positive for P. multocida of serogroup A by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Antibiotic susceptibility testing of the recovered isolates revealed that they were all multidrug resistant (MDR) with a predominance of resistance to amoxicillin, ampicillin, amoxicillin/clavulanic acid, neomycin and tetracycline (100% each), followed by kanamycin and streptomycin (90% each). All the recovered isolates were further subjected to PCR screening of some common virulence and antibiotic resistance genes of interest . With the exception of toxA gene, the other virulence associated genes (ptfA, Omp < /em>87 and nanB) were found among all the examined isolates. Totally, all MDR P. multocida isolates contained at least one antibiotic resistance gene with aphA1 being the most prevalent (100%), followed by ermX gene (40%). Antibiotic resistance genotyping demonstrated the presence of multiple antibiotic resistance genes among majority of the isolates (40%) with only one isolate harboring 4 genes encoding identical resistance phenotypes. Evidentially, all MDR P. multocida isolates possessed at least 3 virulence genes accompanied by the attendance of antibiotic resistance genes. These findings evidenced that rabbits are potential sources of pathogenic P. multocida strains harboring virulence and antibiotic resistance genes. Therefore, it is evident that there is an urgent need for the judicious use of antibiotics in rabbits` treatment systems to successfully mitigate the propagation of drug resistance across P. multocida species.


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