Only a few reports exist on the occurrence of resistant bacteria in zoo animals. Therefore, an isolation of multiresistant Escherichia coli from the lungs of a captive South American tapir (Tapirus terrestris) lead to its characterization and further investigation of samples from animals inhabiting the same paddock and from the shared environment. The tapir suffered from an intermandibular abscess and pneumonia and was euthanatized after unsuccessful therapy, including administration of antibiotics. The authors performed selective isolation of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)–positive E. coli strains and identification of resistance genes using polymerase chain reaction. Seven multiresistant, ESBL-producing E. coli isolates were obtained, all belonging to the B2 phylogenetic group and showing identical profile on pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. These isolates carried several resistance genes, including the gene blaCTX-M-15. This case demonstrates the transmission of related epidemiologically important E. coli isolates whose potential transmission to other animals and zoo staff can be assumed.
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