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Meat can be a vehicle for food-borne transmission of antimicrobial resistant bacteria and antimicrobial resistance genes. The occurrence of extended‐spectrum beta‐lactamase (ESBL) producing Enterobacterales has been observed in meat from livestock production but has not been well studied in meat from wild game.


We aimed to investigate, particularly in central Europe, to what extent ESBL-producing Enterobacterales may be present in wild game meat.


A total of 111 samples of different types of game meat supplied by butchers, hunters, retail stores and a large game-processing establishment in Europe were screened for ESBL-producing Enterobacterales using a selective culture medium. Isolates were genotypically and phenotypically characterised.


Thirty-nine samples (35% of the total) yielded ESBL-producing Enterobacterales, with most (35/39) supplied by the game-processing establishment. Isolates included 32 , 18 and one . PCR screening identified (n = 31), (n = 8), (n = 4), (n = 3), (n = 1), (n = 1), (n = 1), and (n = 2). Most belonged to phylogenetic group A (n = 7) or B1 (n = 9), but several isolates belonged to extraintestinal pathogenic (ExPEC) sequence types (ST)58 (n = 4), ST68 (n = 1) and ST540 (n = 1). Whole genome sequencing of six selected isolates localised on megaplasmids in four and on IncN_1 plasmids in one and one . Forty-eight isolates (94%) exhibited a multidrug-resistance phenotype.


We found a high occurrence of ESBL-producing Enterobacterales in wild game meat, suggesting wildlife habitat pollution and possible microbial contamination events occurring during skinning or cutting carcasses.


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