Microbiological diagnosis and antimicrobial sensitivity profiles in diseased free-living raptors

Anna Vidal, Laia Baldomà, Rafael A. Molina-López, Marga Martin, Laila Darwich

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14 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017 Houghton Trust Ltd. Free-living raptors (birds of prey) can act as reservoirs of potentially zoonotic agents, but they also can be affected by microorganisms as target hosts. In this retrospective study, microbiological results (n = 663) and antibiotic sensitivity profiles (n = 108) of bacterial isolates were analysed from diseased free-living raptors. Sixty-nine percent of cases (n = 457) yielded bacteria: 58% were in pure culture and 42% were of different species. Remarkably, samples from necropsies (47%) had higher percentage of pure isolations than those obtained from clinical (31%) samples (P < 0.001). Among bacterial isolates, Escherichia coli was the most common agent (35%), principally recovered from necropsied birds with clinical signs of septicaemia or respiratory disorders. Pseudomonas aeruginosa (7%) was isolated from birds with systemic infection and from oral lesions, especially in nocturnal raptors (P < 0.001). Staphylococcus spp. (5%), mainly Staphylococcus aureus, was found to be the most prevalent cause of pododermatitis (35%) and Staphylococcus hyicus was isolated from conjunctivitis (18.2%). Interestingly, 8% of samples with lesions compatible with avian tuberculosis were positive to the Mycobacterium avium complex. The most frequent fungi associated with pneumonic lesions and ingluvitis were Aspergillus spp. and Candida spp., respectively. More than 50% of the 108 isolates (34 different bacterial spp.) demonstrated resistance to clindamycin, ampicillin, tetracycline, cefuroxime, enrofloxacin and trimethoprim/sulphamethoxazole. Among the E. coli strains, 71% (27/38) presented a multidrug-resistance pattern to >3 antimicrobials. Detection in wildlife of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens that might be significant at the animal–human–ecosystem interface is of great relevance under the ‘One Health’ approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-450
JournalAvian Pathology
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2017


  • Microbiological diagnosis
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • avian pathology
  • bacterial infections
  • wild free-living raptors
  • zoonotic organisms


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