Res Microbiol. 2021 Sep 7:103879. doi: 10.1016/j.resmic.2021.103879. Online ahead of print.
Over the past decade human associated multidrug resistant (MDR) and hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae lineages have been increasingly detected in wildlife. This study investigated the occurrence of K. pneumoniae species complex (KpSC) in grey-headed flying foxes (GHFF), an Australian fruit bat. Thirty-nine KpSC isolates were cultured from 275 GHFF faecal samples (14.2%), comprising K. pneumoniae (n=30), Klebsiella africana (n=8) and Klebsiella variicola subsp. variicola (n=1). The majority (79.5%) of isolates belonged to novel sequence types (ST), including two novel K. africana STs. This is the first report of K. africana outside of Africa and in a non-human host. A minority (15.4%) of GHFF KpSC isolates shared STs with human clinical K. pneumoniae strains, of which, none belonged to MDR clonal lineages that cause frequent nosocomial outbreaks, and no isolates were characterised as hypervirulent. The occurrence of KpSC isolates carrying acquired antimicrobial resistance genes in GHFF was low (1.1%), with three K. pneumoniae isolates harbouring both fluoroquinolone and trimethoprim resistance genes. This study indicates that GHFF are not reservoirs for MDR and hypervirulent KpSC strains, but they do carry novel K. africana lineages. Health risks associated with KpSC carriage by GHFF are deemed low for the public and GHFF.