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Complex bacterial flora of imported pet tortoises deceased during quarantine: Another zoonotic threat?

Goławska, Olga, Zając, Magdalena, Maluta, Aleksandra, Pristas, Peter, Hamarová, Ľudmila, Wasyl, Dariusz
Comparative immunology, microbiology, and infectious diseases 2019 v.65 pp. 154-159
Citrobacter, Escherichia coli, Morganella, Pseudomonas, Salmonella, anti-infective agents, antibiotic resistance, bacteria, breeding, households, humans, intestines, pathogenicity, pets, quarantine, resistance mechanisms, salmonellosis, serotypes, surveys, tortoises, trade
Turtoises are a great puzzle when it comes to their bacterial flora, the composition and structure of which are still unknown in details. Its component which has been best described so far is Salmonella spp., presumably due to the threat of reptile-associated salmonellosis in humans. This investigation tried to assess and characterize intestinal bacterial flora of imported tortoises found dead during quarantine. Most of the animals carried various serovars of Salmonella showing no antimicrobial resistance. Presence of multiresistant Escherichia coli was possibly a result of industrial breeding and high usage of antimicrobials. Thirteen bacterial species or genera like Citrobacter spp., Morganella spp., Pseudomonas spp. were identified. Their commensal character is assumed, although pathogenic potential might be verified. The results indicate global tortoise trade as a source of common and exotic bacteria or antimicrobial resistance mechanisms in new geographical areas. These dangers indicate the need for a systematic survey of exotic pets and establishment of legal requirements for reptile health conditions on breeding, trade premises and in households with such pets.