Presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in faecal samples collected in urban parks in Leicester, UK.


Although a public health concern, there is limited information about the presence of antibiotic-resistant human pathogenic bacteria in the UK environment. Identification of environmental contaminants, including biological hazards, is critical to protect the public health. Klebsiella pneumoniae and Escherichia coli are considered important Gram-negative opportunistic pathogens. Urban animals may play a significant zoonotic role in the dispersion of these pathogens. 46 faecal samples were collected in different public parks in Leicester city in April-May 2016. Samples were collected in days of no rain to avoid problems with the integrity of the sample. Animal species were identified by a veterinarian: 18 avian (5 pigeons, 13 waterfowls), 15 dog, 3 cat, 7 fox and 3 unidentified. Faecal samples were analysed using routine coprological methods of modified Telemann and MIF. Seven Extended-Spectrum -Lactamases genes for Gram-negative bacteria, and bacteria species (K. pneumoniae and E. coli) were determined using specific primers by PCR. DNA was extracted by bead disruption of prepared samples using the Fast-DNA-Spin kit, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. We detected genes for enzymes for those -Lactamases in 11 samples (specifically CTX-M-15), which corresponded with 6 samples form waterfowls, 3 from dogs and 2 from foxes. None of the samples was identified for K. pneumoniae or E. coli. Although the results are preliminary, the data obtained in this study has revealed the presence of antibiotic resistant bacteria in urban areas that are highly frequented by citizens, which may require recovery and restoration in addition to pro-active public health measures to protect public health.




Baho S., Hoosen H., Samarasinghe S., Walsh S., Lobo-Bedmar MC., del Águila C., Fenoy S., Izquierdo F., Magnet A., Peña-Fernández A. (2016). Presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in faecal samples collected in urban parks in Leicester, UK. 52nd European Congress of the European Societies of Toxicology. Seville, Spain, 4-7 September 2016. Toxicology Letters 2016; 258S: S183.


Research Institute

Leicester Institute for Pharmaceutical Innovation - From Molecules to Practice (LIPI)