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Wild rodents as reservoirs of antibiotic resistance for farm animals and man - OD2009

Description
Antibiotic resistance is an increasingly important problem in farm animal and human medicine. The increased prevalence of resistance is assumed to be largely due to selection through the use of antibiotics. There is considerable ignorance, however, regarding (i) the original sources of both the resistant strains and the genetic elements which encode resistance, and (ii) the dynamics and persistence of resistance under different antibiotic-application regimens. Although several groups have produced valuable theoretical models to help understand the ecology of antibiotic resistance, there is an urgent need for detailed, longitudinal, empirical studies, especially of commensal bacteria (rather than pathogens) and in natural populations.

This project will investigate the role of wildlife as sources of resistance for domestic animals (and man), and the likely sources and mechanisms of persistence of antibiotic resistance in wildlife in the absence of obvious exposure to anitbiotics.

We have recently demonstrated high prevalences of antibiotic resistance in the normal enteric bacterial flora of woodland populations of wild rodents that have never been treated with antibiotics. This raises several questions, concerning the ability of wild rodents to act as sources (or reservoirs) of antibiotic resistance for farm animals and humans, and the dynamics and mechanisms of persistence of antibiotic resistance generally. This project will explore these issues through:
- Cross sectional and longitudinal studies of wild rodent populations to determine the epidemiology of antibiotic resistence. This will include a detailed examination of temproal patterns and the relationship between resistance and viriables such as age and sex of the rodent host.
- Investigation of spatial patterns of antibiotic resistance in wild rodents, in-contact farm animals amn and the environment.
- Combining molecular studies with information on antibiotic usage to examine the origin and mechanisms of resistance and its transferablity to other bacteria and other mammalian hosts.
- Study of the environement, diet, and seasonal variation in the normal enteric flora of wild rodents (including captive colonies of wild rodents) to investigate how antibiotic resistance persists in the absence of antibiotic therapy
Objective
1. To determine the prevalence of antibiotic resistance in several wild rodent populations.

2. To compare geographical and seasonal patterns of antibiotic resistance in wild rodents with patterns in contact farm animals and the environment.

3. To determine the potential for these wild rodents to act as a source of resistance for domestic animals (and, possibly, man).

4. To begin to determine the possible origins of antibiotic resistance in wild rodents.

5. To undertake preliminary experiments to determine the selection mechanisms within wild rodents which maintain resistance at such high prevalences
Project Documents
• Final Report : WILD RODENTS AS RESERVOIRS OF ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE FOR FARM ANIMALS AND MAN - CURRENT STATUS, ORIGINS AND MECHANISMS OF PERSISTENCE   (3305k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2000

To: 2003

Cost: £295,067
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Liverpool
Keywords
Animal Diseases              
Animal Health              
Antimicrobial Resistance              
Bacteria              
Biotechnology              
Plants and Animals              
Fields of Study
Animal Health