Population patterns and antimicrobial resistance of Aeromonas in urban playa lakes

William J. Warren, Randall M. Jeter, Robert C. Kimbrough, John C. Zak

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11 Scopus citations


Bacteria belonging to the genus Aeromonas are indigenous to aquatic environments. Once regarded as unimportant human pathogens, reports of opportunistic infections caused by these organisms have appeared increasingly in the medical literature. To estimate the potential for human infection by Aeromonas where limited water resources are being used intensively, we studied the spatial and temporal variation and incidence of antimicrobial resistance among environmental isolates of Aeromonas from two urban playa lakes in Lubbock, Texas. Aeromonas population densities varied seasonally, with the highest densities occurring from mid-April to late October. The greatest range of densities was 100-fold, from 2.50 to 255.17 colony-forming units per 0.1 mL of water sample. Densities also varied with water depth, although the variation did not display a consistent pattern. One hundred fifty-one Aeromonas isolates were divided into 10 species or subspecies groups by using the BIOLOG identification system. Nine isolates displayed resistance to co-trimoxazole, tetracycline, and cefuroxime, and none was resistant to more than one of these antimicrobial agents. In summary, the results of this study showed that the densities of Aeromonas peak in the late spring and again in late summer, times when human activity around the playa lakes is also high. Thus, we infer that human exposure to these potential pathogens varies seasonally. Compared to other published studies, the incidence of antimicrobial-resistant Aeromonas is relatively low in urban playa lakes in Lubbock, Texas. Nevertheless, resistant organisms were detected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-404
Number of pages8
JournalCanadian Journal of Microbiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • Aeromonas
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Playa
  • Population dynamics
  • Water


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