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Characterization of multidrug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae isolated from the Chinese cobra Naja atra in a Beijing suburb

Haifeng WANG1, 2, 3 , Hongxuan HE2

1 School of Environmental Engineering, Central Plains Specialty Food Engineering &Technology Research Center, Yellow River Conservancy Technical Institute, Dong Jing Avenue, Kaifeng, China
2 National Research Center for Wildlife-Borne Diseases, Key Laboratory of Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
3 Kaifeng Key Laboratory of Food Quality Assessment , Kaifeng, China

* Address correspondence to: Haifeng Wang, email; Hongxuan He, email

BIOCELL 2018, 42(2), 47-54.


The emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance genes among Bacteria are a serious threat to global health. Their occurrence in animals which are in contact with humans is also important. The Chinese cobra (Naja atra, Elapidae), though a highly venomous species, is appreciated as food and as a source of materials used in traditional Chinese medicine. We are here reporting the isolation of multidrug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (Enterobacteriaceae) from the lung of Naja atra, obtained from a snake farm in a Beijing suburb. Our study analyzed, using gene sequencing, the occurrence of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in three K. pneumoniae isolates from two snakes. In addition, bacterial clones were identified by biochemical tests and phylogenetic analysis. Tests of antimicrobial susceptibility showed that all K. pneumoniae isolates were resistant to a host of antibiotics (piperacillin, cefazolin, gentamicin, tetracycline, doxycyclin, ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, lomefloxacin, ofloxacin, norfloxacin, nalidixic acid, chloramphenicol, nitrofurantoin, sulfamethoxazole, and sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim) but were susceptible to cefotaxime, cefixime, aztreonam, bramycin, amikacin, kanamycin, netilmicin, and streptomycin. Eighteen ARGs were detected in total DNA extracted from the isolates. Results showed three quinolone resistance genes (oqxA, oqxB, qnrB), the gyrA gene that confers resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics, and the emerging aac(3)-II gene that confers resistance to aminoglycosides. K. pneumoniae is an important opportunistic human pathogen and the emergence of multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae in N. atra suggests the increasing risk of pathogen transmission between humans, livestock, and wildlife. Given the close association between foodborne pathogenic microorganisms and humans, it is key factor to identify these antibiotic resistance genes profile thereby minimize the risk of K. pneumoniae transmission.


Cite This Article

WANG, H., HE, H. (2018). Characterization of multidrug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae isolated from the Chinese cobra Naja atra in a Beijing suburb. BIOCELL, 42(2), 47–54.


cc This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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