Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Genomic comparison of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae from humans and gulls in Alaska

March 2, 2021


Wildlife may harbor clinically important antimicrobial resistant (AMR) bacteria, but the role of wildlife in the epidemiology of AMR bacterial infections in humans is largely unknown. In this study, we aimed to assess dissemination of theblaKPC carbapenemase gene among humans and gulls in Alaska.


We performed whole genome sequencing to determine the genetic context ofblaKPC in bacterial isolates from all four human carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) infections reported in Alaska between 2013–2018 and to compare sequences to seven previously reported CPE isolates from gull feces within the same region and time period.


Genomic analysis of CPE isolates suggested independent acquisition events among humans with no evidence for direct transmission ofblaKPC between people and gulls. However, some isolates shared conserved genetic elements surrounding blaKPC, suggesting possible exchange between species.


Our results highlight the genomic plasticity associated withblaKPC and demonstrate that sampling of wildlife may be useful for identifying clinically relevant antimicrobial resistance not observed through local passive surveillance in humans.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2021
Title Genomic comparison of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae from humans and gulls in Alaska
DOI 10.1016/j.jgar.2021.02.028
Authors Christina Ahlstrom, Anna Frick, Catherine Pongratz, Kimberly Spink, Catherine Xavier, Jonas Bonnedahl, Andrew M. Ramey
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Global Antimicrobial Resistance
Index ID 70218777
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Science Center Biology WTEB