Antibiotic use and its implications have been discussed extensively in the past decades. This situation has global consequences when antibiotic resistance becomes widespread in the intestinal bacterial flora of stationary and migratory birds. This study investigated the incidence of fecal bacteria and general antibiotic resistance, with special focus on extended spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) isolates, in two species of seabirds at remote Easter Island. We identified 11 species of bacteria from masked booby (Sula dactylatra) and Christmas shearwater (Puffinus nativitatis); five species of gram-negative bacilli, four species of Streptococcus (Enterococcus), and 2 species of Staphylococcus. In addition, 6 types of bacteria were determined barely to the genus level. General antibiotic susceptibility was measured in the 30 isolated Enterobacteriaceae to 11 antibiotics used in human and veterinary medicine. The 10 isolates that showed a phenotypic ESBL profile were verified by clavulanic acid inhibition in double mixture discs with cefpodoxime, and two ESBL strains were found, one strain in masked booby and one strain in Christmas shearwater. The two bacteria harboring the ESBL type were identified as Serratia odorifera biotype 1, which has zoonotic importance. Despite minimal human presence in the masked booby and Christmas shearwater habitats, and the extreme geographic isolation of Easter Island, we found several multiresistant bacteria and even two isolates with ESBL phenotypes. The finding of ESBLs has animal and public health significance and is of potential concern, especially because the investigation was limited in size and indicated that antibiotic-resistant bacteria now are distributed globally.
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Vol. 55 • No. 3