The aim of this study was to investigate the carriage of antibiotic resistant strains of pathogenic E. coli and Salmonella sp. by pigeons in Saudi Arabia. A total of 400 fresh faecal samples of rock pigeons were screened for the presence of E. coli O157 and Salmonella. Selective plating technique was used to isolate the bacteria and disk diffusion method was used to assess their susceptibility patterns to eight antibiotics. Of the 400 faecal samples, 2.5% were positive for shiga toxin-producing E. coli and 2.0% were positive for Salmonella. E. coli O157 showed low resistance patterns (30%) to one or more of the antibiotics used, whereas Salmonella isolates exhibited higher resistance (62.5%) to one antimicrobial agent. The results reported in this study clearly showed that free-living pigeons in Makkah, western Saudi Arabia may constitute a reservoir of antibiotic resistant strains of shiga toxin-producing E. coli and Salmonella that could be of risk to other birds, feedlot animals and humans. However, given the relatively low incidence of these pathogens suggests that free-living pigeons may not play an important role in the infections occurred in the community due to these pathogens.
Hussein H. Abulreesh , 2011. Free Living Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) as an Environmental Reservoir of Enteric Bacterial Pathogens Resistant to Antimicrobial Drugs in Saudi Arabia. Current Research in Bacteriology, 4: 28-33.