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Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria in Wildlife

  • Monika DolejskaEmail author
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series


The global dissemination of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB) is one of the most important issues for current medicine, having serious implications for public health. Particular concern has been raised regarding the increasing occurrence of multidrug-resistant bacteria in the environment and wildlife. Wild animals inhabiting human-influenced environments can easily acquire ARB. Synanthropic animals that tend to live close to humans and seek food in cities, landfills or areas with intensive agriculture are more likely to carry ARB in their gut than those in places with limited human footprints. In the past years, wild animals were recognized as vectors and secondary sources of ARB for humans and animals. Moreover, wild birds are capable of long-range movements and may spread antibiotic resistance (AR) across borders or continents. This chapter provides a summary of various aspects of AR in wildlife which is presented with respect to the One Health concept. It highlights the most important sources of AR for wildlife and outlines transmission routes of AR into the environment. Ecological and biological factors of various groups of wild animals driving the occurrence of AR and the role of wild animals as spreaders of resistant bacteria are addressed. An overview of selected resistant pathogens carrying epidemiologically and clinically relevant AR found in wildlife is presented and linked to the situation in humans and livestock. Current gaps in our understanding of AR in wildlife and suggestions for future actions and research activities are also highlighted.


Antibiotics Escherichia coli Environmental source One Health Resistance Transmission Wildlife 



Antibiotic resistance


Antibiotic-resistant bacteria


Antibiotic resistance genes


Clonal complex (defined by multilocus sequence typing)


Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae


Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase


Livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus


Multidrug resistance


Multilocus sequence typing


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus


Polymerase chain reaction


Pulse-field gel electrophoresis


Plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance


Quantitative PCR


Repetitive element sequence-based PCR


Staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec


Sequence type


Vancomycin-resistant enterococci


Whole-genome sequencing


Wastewater treatment plant



Supported by Czech Health Research Council (NV18-09-00605) and the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports within the National Programme for Sustainability II (LQ1601). I am sincerely grateful to Marco Minoia for his help with figure preparation.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology and Wildlife Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Hygiene and Ecology, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences BrnoBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC), University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences BrnoBrnoCzech Republic

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