The house mouse is one of the most common rodent pests found around the world, particularly in urban areas, and has long been known for its ability to spread infectious diseases to humans. Now, a new study by researchers at Columbia University indicates that the unwelcome house guest also carries several species of pathogenic bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes.
In a study today in mBio, the researchers report that a genetic analysis of droppings collected from house mice in New York City detected several types of bacteria capable of causing gastrointestinal disease, including Shigella, Salmonella, Escherichia coli, and Clostridium difficile. They also found genes that confer resistance to fluoroquinolones, beta-lactam antibiotics, and methicillin.
Overall, more than a third of mice carried at least one potentially pathogenic bacterium, and nearly a quarter carried at least one antibiotic resistance gene.