Enterobacteriaceae isolated from the River danube: Antibiotic resistances, with a focus on the presence of ESBL and carbapenemases

Clemens Kittinger, Michaela Lipp, Bettina Folli, Alexander Kirschner, Rita Baumert, Herbert Galler, Andrea J. Grisold, Josefa Luxner, Melanie Weissenbacher, Andreas H. Farnleitner, Gernot Zarfel

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

66 Citations (Scopus)


In a clinical setting it seems to be normal these days that a relevant proportion or even the majority of different bacterial species has already one or more acquired antibiotic resistances. Unfortunately, the overuse of antibiotics for livestock breeding and medicine has also altered the wild-type resistance profiles of many bacterial species in different environmental settings. As a matter of fact, getting in contact with resistant bacteria is no longer restricted to hospitals. Beside food and food production, the aquatic environment might also play an important role as reservoir and carrier. The aim of this study was the assessment of the resistance patterns of Escherichia coli and Klebsiella spp. out of surface water without prior enrichment and under non-selective culture conditions (for antibiotic resistance). In addition, the presence of clinically important extended spectrum beta lactamase (ESBL) and carbapenmase harboring Enterobacteriaceae should be investigated. During Joint Danube Survey 3(2013), water samples were taken over the total course of the River Danube. Resistance testing was performed for 21 different antibiotics. Samples were additionally screened for ESBL or carbapenmase harboring Enterobacteriaceae. 39% of all isolated Escherichia coli and 15% of all Klebsiella spp. from the river Danube had at least one acquired resistance. Resistance was found against all tested antibiotics except tigecycline. Taking a look on the whole stretch of the River Danube the proportion of multiresistances did not differ significantly. In total, 35 ESBL harboring Enterobacteriaceae, 17 Escherichia coli, 13 Klebsiella pneumoniae and five Enterobacter spp. were isolated. One Klebsiella pneumoniae harboring NMD-1 carbapenmases and two Enterobacteriaceae with KPC-2 could be identified. Human generated antibiotic resistance is very common in E. coli and Klebsiella spp. in the River Danube. Even isolates with resistance patterns normally associated with intensive care units are present.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0165820
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Multidisciplinary


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