#NYC House #Mice (Mus musculus) as Potential #Reservoirs for Pathogenic #Bacteria and #Antimicrobial Resistance Determinants (mBio, abstract)

[Source: mBio, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

New York City House Mice (Mus musculus) as Potential Reservoirs for Pathogenic Bacteria and Antimicrobial Resistance Determinants

Simon H. Williams a,  Xiaoyu Che a,  Ashley Paulick b, Cheng Guo a, Bohyun Lee a, Dorothy Muller a, Anne-Catrin Uhlemann c, Franklin D. Lowy c, Robert M. Corrigan d, W. Ian Lipkin a

a Center for Infection and Immunity, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA; b Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA; c Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA; d RMC Pest Management Consulting, Briarcliff Manor, New York, USA

Claire M. Fraser, Editor

Author Affiliations: University of Maryland, School of Medicine

Address correspondence to W. Ian Lipkin, wil2001@cumc.columbia.edu.



House mice (Mus musculus) thrive in large urban centers worldwide. Nonetheless, little is known about the role that they may play in contributing to environmental contamination with potentially pathogenic bacteria. Here, we describe the fecal microbiome of house mice with emphasis on detection of pathogenic bacteria and antimicrobial resistance genes by molecular methods. Four hundred sixteen mice were collected from predominantly residential buildings in seven sites across New York City over a period of 13 months. 16S rRNA sequencing identified Bacteroidetes as dominant and revealed high levels of Proteobacteria. A targeted PCR screen of 11 bacteria, as indicated by 16S rRNA analyses, found that mice are carriers of several gastrointestinal disease-causing agents, including Shigella, Salmonella, Clostridium difficile, and diarrheagenic Escherichia coli. Furthermore, genes mediating antimicrobial resistance to fluoroquinolones (qnrB) and β-lactam drugs (blaSHV and blaACT/MIR) were widely distributed. Culture and molecular strain typing of C. difficile revealed that mice harbor ribotypes associated with human disease, and screening of kidney samples demonstrated genetic evidence of pathogenic Leptospira species. In concert, these findings support the need for further research into the role of house mice as potential reservoirs for human pathogens and antimicrobial resistance in the built environment.



Mice are commensal pests often found in close proximity to humans, especially in urban centers. We surveyed mice from seven sites across New York City and found multiple pathogenic bacteria associated with febrile and gastrointestinal disease as well as an array of antimicrobial resistance genes.

KEYWORDS: antimicrobial resistance –  bacteriome –  mice –  New York City



Citation Williams SH, Che X, Paulick A, Guo C, Lee B, Muller D, Uhlemann A-C, Lowy FD, Corrigan RM, Lipkin WI. 2018. New York City house mice (Mus musculus) as potential reservoirs for pathogenic bacteria and antimicrobial resistance determinants. mBio 9:e00624-18. https://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.00624-18.

For a companion article on this topic, see https://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.01354-17.

Received 19 March 2018  – Accepted 22 March 2018  – Published 17 April 2018

Copyright © 2018 Williams et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

Keywords: USA; New York City; House Mice; Antibiotics; Drugs Resistance; Clostridium difficile; Leptospira spp.; Shigella spp.; Salmonella spp.; E. Coli.


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Giuseppe Michieli

I am an Italian blogger, active since 2005 with main focus on emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza, SARS, antibiotics resistance, and many other global Health issues. Other fields of interest are: climate change, global warming, geological and biological sciences. My activity consists mainly in collection and analysis of news, public services updates, confronting sources and making decision about what are the 'signals' of an impending crisis (an outbreak, for example). When a signal is detected, I follow traces during the entire course of an event. I started in 2005 my blog ''A TIME'S MEMORY'', now with more than 40,000 posts and 3 millions of web interactions. Subsequently I added an Italian Language blog, then discontinued because of very low traffic and interest. I contributed for seven years to a public forum (FluTrackers.com) in the midst of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, I left the site to continue alone my data tracking job.