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Antibiotic resistance in free-ranging wildlife

July 8, 2022

In this chapter, we provide an overview of antimicrobial resistant (AMR) bacteria in wildlife through the presentation of general trends of occurrence among both captive and free-ranging wild animal populations, discussion of importance to human health and wildlife conservation, and identification of priority areas for future research and monitoring efforts. Once most commonly identified in humans and domestic animals, AMR bacteria have now been reported to be widespread among free-ranging and captive wildlife and the broader environment. Antimicrobial resistance has been identified in wildlife inhabiting nearly every country, region, and habitat type from which samples have been obtained, although occurrence may be more common in animals that occupy anthropogenically impacted environments. Though AMR bacteria identified in free-ranging wildlife have generally not been associated with direct health impacts to the host, specific bacteria and types of resistance found in wildlife may be clinically relevant to humans. Furthermore, AMR bacteria harbored by captive or free-ranging animals may complicate veterinary treatment of captive, rare, or vulnerable wildlife provided care. Future investigations may obtain important information on the acquisition and dissemination of AMR bacteria by wildlife through the comparison of resistance harbored by bacteria from wildlife and the environments they occupy. The identification of specific environmental pathways through which resistance may be acquired would help to guide the development of intervention strategies to interrupt further spread of antimicrobial resistance to, from, and among wildlife. Implications of such strategies may also extend more broadly to promote domestic animal, human, and environmental health.

Publication Year 2022
Title Antibiotic resistance in free-ranging wildlife
Authors Andrew M. Ramey, Christina Ahlstrom
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 70237617
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Science Center Biology WTEB