The first reported transference of the New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM) Escherichia coli bacteria between a dog and a human has been discovered by scientists in Finland.
The research conducted by University of Helsinki, the National Institute for Health and Welfare, and the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira found that in the spring of 2015, two Finnish Hound dogs who belonged to the same family had specimens of the MDR E. coli present in their ears.
Both dogs had a long history of recurrent otitis externa, which was suspected to be allergy or atopy related but the the underlying factor remained unidentified.
Dog A had its first otitis externa episode in February 2013, when a local veterinarian diagnosed ear inflammation with yeast overgrowth in the dog’s right ear. Dog B began experiencing ear problems in October 2013. Both dogs continued to experience intermittent symptoms of ear infection, despite being administered both topical, systemic antimicrobial and non-antimicrobial therapy, including corticosteroids.
The two human family members were screened to see if carbapenemase/ESBL-producing Gram-negative rods were present. One of them carried NDM- as well as ESBL-producing E. coli, while the other family member only carried ESBL-producing E. coli.
The findings indicated the transmission of ST167 NDM-5 and ST69 CTX-M group 9 E. coli between the dogs and the humans, but it is unknown who transferred to whom. However the researchers assume that it was transferred from human to dog as Carbapenemase Producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) is more prevalent in people.
Leader of the research, Merja Rantala from the University of Helsinki, said: “We could not show with certainty in which direction the bacteria had transmitted. However, especially the NDM bacteria probably moved from human to dog as these bacteria have not previously been identified in animals in Finland.”