Zurek, Ludek

Ludek Zurek

Senior Researcher, Adjunct

CEITEC - Central European Institute of Technology


Recent Publications

Area(s) of Specialization:

  • Gastro-intestinal microbial ecology and vector competence of arthropods of animal and public health importance
  • Ecology of human and animal pathogens and antibiotic resistance traits


B.S. Animal Science, Mendel University, Brno, CZ, 1987
Ph.D. Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton CA, 1998
Postdoctoral Res. Associate, Microbiology/Entomology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, 1999-2002


  • Animal Health Entomology [ENTOM 305]
  • Animal Health Entomology Lab [ENTOM 306]


1. We are working primarily with enterococci and Shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC). The main interests include the origins, reservoirs, and horizontal transfer of virulence and antibiotic resistance genes among bacteria. We ask questions on how and why some innocuous environmental bacterial strains acquire specific traits that make them clinically important.
2. The gastro-intestinal tract of insects is an ideal habitat for large and diverse microbial communities. We are interested in biting midges (Culicoides sonorensis) - microbial interactions from perspectives of larval development, adult fitness, innate immunity, and vector competence for bluetongue virus (BTV) and epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV). We also collaborate with Dr. David Sacks (NIAID, NIH) on the assessment of the role of the gut bacterial community of sand flies in vector competence for Leishmania parasites.
3. Development and survival of some insects, such as larvae of muscoid flies, strictly depends on an active microbial community in the natural habitat (e.g. animal and human feces and other decomposing organic substrates). We are interested in a better understanding of this insect - bacterial association with the overall goal to develop novel insect pest management strategies


70. Zurek L. and A. Ghosh (2014). Insects represent a link between food animal farms and the urban environment for antibiotic resistance traits. Applied and Environmental Microbiology doi:10.1128/AEM.00600-14

69. Zhu J.J., B.J. Wienhold, J. Wehrle, D. Davis, H. Chen, D. Taylor, K. Friesen andL. Zurek(2014). Efficacy and longevity of newly developed catnip oil microcapsules against stable fly oviposition and larval growth. Medical and Veterinary Entomology DOI: 10.1111/ mve. 12029.

68. Oravcova V., L. Zurek, A. Townsend, A.B. Clark, J.C. Ellis, A. Cizek, and I. Literak (2014). American crows as carriers of vancomycin resistant enterococci with vanA gene. Environmental Microbiology doi:10.1111/1462-2920.12213.

67. Doud C.W., H.M. Scott, and L. Zurek* (2014). Role of house flies in the ecology of Enterococcus faecalis from wastewater treatment facilities. Microbial Ecology 67:380-391.

66. Ghosh A., M. Akhtar, C. Holderman, and L. Zurek* (2014). Significance and survival of enterococci during the house fly development. Journal of Medical Entomology 51: 63-67.

65. Halova D., I. Papousek, I. Jamborova, M. Masarikova, A. Cizek, N. Janecko, V. Oravcova, L. Zurek, A.B. Clark, A. Townsend, J.C. Ellis, and I. Literak (2014). Plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance genes in Enterobacteriaceae from American crows: High prevalence of bacteria with variable qnrB genes. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 58:1257-1258.

64. Frolkova P., P. Svec, I. Sedlacek, I. Maslanova, J. Cernohlavkova, A. Ghosh, L. Zurek, T. Radimersky, and I. Literak (2013). Enterococcus alcedinis sp. nov., isolated from common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis). International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 63:3069-3074.

63. Scott J.G., C.A. Leichter, F.D.Rinkevihc, S.A Harris, C. Su, L.C. Aberegg, R. Moon, C.J. Geden, A.C. Gerry, D.B. Taylor, R.L. Byford, W. Watson, G. Johnson, and L. Zurek (2013). Insecticide resistance in house flies from the United States: Resistance levels and frequency of pyrethroid resistance alleles. Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology 107:377-384.

62. Ghosh A., L. Borst, S.H. Stauffer, M. Suyemoto, P. Moisan, L. Zurek, and J. Gookin (2013). Mortality in kittens is associated with a shift in ileum mucosa-associated enterococci from Enterococcus hirae to biofilm-forming Enterococcus faecalis and adherent Escherichia coli. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 51:3567-3578.

61. Oravcova V., A. Ghosh, L. Zurek, J. Bardon, S. Guenther, A. Cizek, and I. Literak (2013). Vancomycin-resistant enterococci in rooks (Corvus frugilegus) wintering throughout Europe. Environmental Microbiology 15:548-556.

60. Peterkova-Koci K., M. Robles-Murguia, M. Ramalho-Ortigao, L. Zurek* (2012). Significance of bacteria in oviposition and larval development of the sand fly Lutzomyia longipalpis. Parasites & Vectors 5:145.

59. Frolkova P., A. Ghosh, P. Svec, L. Zurek, I. Literak (2012). Use of the manganese-dependent superoxide dismutase gene sodA for rapid identification of recently described enterococcal species. Folia Microbiologica 57: 439-442.

58. Hubert J., Jopecky J., Perotti A., Braig H.R., Sagova-Mareckova M., Macovei L., and L. Zurek (2012). Detection and identification of species-specific bacteria associated with synanthropic mites. Microbial Ecology 63: 919-928.

57. Unc A., L. Zurek, G. Peterson, S. Narayanan, S.V. Springthorpe, and S.A. Sattar (2012). Microarray assessment of virulence, antibiotic, and heavy metal resistance in an agricultural watershed creek. Journal of Environmental Quality 41: 1-10.

56. Doud C.W., D.B. Taylor and L. Zurek* (2012). Dewatered sewage biosolids provide a productive larval habitat for stable flies and house flies (Diptera: Muscidae). Journal of Medical Entomology 49:286-292.

55. Doud C.W. and L. Zurek* (2012). Enterococcus faecalis OG1RF:pMV158 survives and proliferates in the house fly digestive tract. Journal of Medical Entomology 49:150-155.

54. Ghosh A., K. KuKanich, C.B. Brown and L. Zurek* (2012). Resident cats in small animal veterinary hospitals carry multi-drug resistant enterococci and are likley involved in cross-contamination of the hospital environment. Frontiers in Microbiology 3(62):1-14.

53. KuKanich K.S., A. Ghosh, J.V. Skarbek, K. Lothamer, and L. Zurek (2012). Surveillance of bacterial contamination in small animal veterinary hospitals with focus on drug resistance and virulence traits of enterococci. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 240:437-445.

52. Ghosh A., S.E. Dowd, and L. Zurek* (2011). Dogs leaving the ICU carry a very large multi-drug resistant enterococcal population with capacity for biofilm formation and horizontal gene transfer. PLoS ONE 6(7): e22451.

51. Khajuria C., L.L. Buschman, M.S. Chen, L. Zurek, and K.Y. Zhu (2011). Characterization of six antibacterial response genes from the European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis) larval gut and their expression in response to bacterial challenge. Journal of Insect Physiology 57:345-355.

50. Ahmad A., A. Ghosh, C. Schal, and L. Zurek* (2011). Insects in confined swine operations carry a large antibiotic resistant and potentially virulent enterococcal community. BMC Microbiology 11:23.

49. Amachawadi R.A., Shelton N.W., Jacob M.E., Shi X., Narayanan S.K., Zurek L., Dritz S.S., Nelssen J.L., Tokach M.D. and Nagaraja T.G. (2010). Occurence of tcrB, a transferable copper resistance gene, in fecal enterococci of swine. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease 7:1089-1097.

48. Channaiah LH, B. Subramanyam, and L. Zurek (2010). Stored product insects are carriers of antibiotic resistant and potentially virulent enterococci. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 74:464-471.

47. Channaiah, L.H., B. Subramanyam, and L. Zurek (2010). Survival of Enterococcus faecalis OG1RF:pCF10 in poultry and cattle feed: Vector competence of the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum. Journal of Food Protection 73:568-573.

46. Akhtar, M., H. Hirt, and L. Zurek*(2009). Horizontal transfer of the tetracycline resistance gene tetM mediated by pCF10 among Enterococcus faecalis in the house fly alimentary canal. Microbial Ecology 59 : 509-518.

45. Macovei, L., A. Ghosh, V. Thomas, L. Hancock, S. Mahmood, and L. Zurek* (2009). Enterococcus faecalis with the gelatinase phenotype regulated by the fsr-operon and with biofilmforming capacity are common in the agricultural environment. Environmental Microbiology 11:1540-1547.

44. Talley, J., A. Broce, and L. Zurek* (2009). Characterization of stable fly (Diptera: Muscidae) larval developmental habitat at round hay bale feeding sites. Journal of Medical Entomology 46:1310-1319.

43. Ahmad, A. and L. Zurek* (2009). Evaluation of metaflumizone granular bait for management of house flies. Medical and Veterinary Entomology 23:167-169.

42. Nagulalally, S.R., A. Ahmad, A. Henry, G.L. Marchin, L. Zurek, and A. Bhandari (2009). Occurrence of ciprofloxacin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, and vancomycin resistant bacteria in a municipal wastewater treatment plant. Water Environment Research 80: 82-90.


41. Zurek, L*. and J.R. Gorham (2008). Insects as vectors of foodborne pathogens. In “Wiley Handbook of Science and Technology for Homeland Security”. (Edited by J.G. Voeller), John Wiley & Sons Inc. (book chapter; 16 pages)


40. Macovei, L., B. Miles and L. Zurek. 2008. Potential of houseflies to contaminate ready-to-eat food with antibiotic resistant enterococci. Journal of Food Protection 71: 435-439.

39. Anderson, J.F., T.D. Parrish, M. Akhtar, L. Zurek and H. Hirt. 2008. Antibiotic resistance of enterococci in America bison (Bison bison) from a nature preserve compared to that of enterococci in pastured cattle. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 74: 1726-1730

38. Larson, Z., B. Subramanyam, L. Zurek and T. Herrman. 2008. Diversity and antibiotic resistance of enterococci associated with stored-product insects collected from feed mills. Journal of Stored Products Research 44: 198-203

37. Ahmad, A., B. Subramanyam, and L. Zurek. 2007. Responses of mosquitoes and German cockroaches to ultrasound emitted from a random ultrasonic generating device. Entomologica Experimentalis et Applicata 123: 25-33.

36. Macovei, L. and L. Zurek. 2007. Influx of enterococci and associated antibiotic ressitanc e and virulence genes from ready-to-eat food to the human digestive tract. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 73: 6740-6747.

35. Mramba, F., A.B. Broce and L. Zurek. 2007. Vector competence of stable flies, Stomoxys calcitrans L. (Diptera : Muscidae), for Enterobacter sakazakii. Journal of Vector Ecology 32: 134-139

34. Ahmad, A., T.G. Nagaraja and L. Zurek. 2007. Transmission of Escherichia coli 0157: H7 to cattle by house flies. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 80: 74-81

33. Mramba, F., A. Broce and L. Zurek. 2006. Isolation of Enterobacter sakasakii from stable flies, Stomoxys calcitrans L. (Diptera: Muscidae). Journal of Food Protection 69(3): 671-673

32. Ahmad, A., Bh., Subramanyam, and L. Zurek. 2007. Responses of the mosquito and German cockroach to ultrasound emitted from random ultrasonic generated device. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 123:25-33.

31. Sirigireddy K.R., Kennedy G.A., Broce A., L. Zurek, R R Ganta. (2006). High prevalence of West Nile virus in Kansas: An increased risk in acquiring infection from a mosquito bite. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases (in press).

30. Sanderson MW, J.M. Sargeant, X. Shi, T.G. Nagaraja, L. Zurek, M.J. Alam (2006). Longitudinal emergence and distribution of Escherichia coli O157 genotypes in a beef feedlot. Applied and Environmental Microbiology (in press).

29. Alam M.J. and L. Zurek* (2006). Seasonal prevalence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in beef cattle feces. Journal of Food Protection 69: 3018-3020.

28. Gorham, J.R. and L. Zurek (2006). Arthropods, filth and other foreign objects in food. pp: 74/1 - 74/28. In Handbook of Food Sciences Technology and Engineering. (Edited by Y.H. Hui), CRC Press, New York, NY.

27. Ahmad, A., A. Broce, and L. Zurek. 2006. Evaluation of significance of bacteria in larval development of the secondary screwworm, Cochliomyia macellaria (F.) (Diptera: Calliphoridae). Journal of Medical Entomology 43(6): 1129-1133

26. Ahmad, A. and L. Zurek. 2006. Evaluation of the anti-terminator Q933 gene as a marker for Escherichia coli O157:H7 with high shiga toxin production. Current Microbiology 53:324-328.

25. Broce, A.B., L. Zurek, J. Kalisch, R. Brown, D. Keith, D. Gordon, J. Goedeke, C. Welbourn, J. Moser, R. Ochoa, E. Azziz-Baumgartner, F. Yip & J. Weber. 2006. Pyemotes herfsi (Acari: Pyemotidae), a mite new to North America as the cause of bite outbreaks. J. Med. Entomol. 43: 610-613.

24. Romero, A., A. Broce and L. Zurek. 2006. Role of bacteria in the oviposition behaviour and larval development of stable flies. Medical and Veterinary Entomology 20(1): 115-121

23. Macovei, L. and L. Zurek. 2006. Ecology of antibiotic resistance genes: characterization of enterococci from houseflies collected in food settings. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 72: 4028-4035

22. Christen, J.M., Campbell, J.F., Zurek, L. and Ramaswamy, S.B. 2006. Role of symbiotic bacteria (Xenorhabdus sp.) in the host-infection process of Steinernema riobrave. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology (in press)

21. Gorham, J.R. and L. Zurek. Arhropods, filth and other foreign objects in food. in Handbook of Food Sciences. CRC Press, New York, NY. In press.

20. Zurek, L. and C. Schal (2004). Evaluation of the German cockroach (Blattella germanica) as a vector for verotoxigenic Escherichia coli F18 in confined swine production. Veterinary Microbiology 101: 263-267.

19. Chakrabarti, S., S. Kambhampati, T. Grace, and L. Zurek. 2004. Characterization of microsatellite loci in the house fly, Musca domestica L. (Dipetera: Muscidae). Molecular Ecology Notes 4: 728-730.

18. Alam, M.J. and L. Zurek. 2004. Association of Escherichia coli 0157: H7 with houseflies on a cattle farm. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 70: 7578-7580

17. Dryden, M.W., Payne, P. and Zurek, L. 2004. Pests that Affect Human Health: Ticks in Kansas. Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service. MF 2653

16. Gore, J.C., L. Zurek, R.G. Santangelo, S.M. Stringham, D.W. Watson, and C. Schal (2004). Water solutions of boric acid and sugar for management of German cockroach populations in livestock production systems. Journal of Economic Entomology 97: 715-720.

15. Gemeno C., L. Zurek, and C. Schal. (2004). Control of the Herpomyces (Ascomycetes: Laboubeniales) infection of wood cockroaches, Parcoblatta lata (Blattaria: Blattelidae), with benomyl. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 85: 132-135.

14. Gore JC, Zurek L, Santangelo RG, et al.Water solutions of boric acid and sugar for management of German cockroach populations in livestock production systems. Journal of Economic Entomology 97 (2): 715-720 APR 2004

13. Zurek L., J.C. Gore, M.S. Stringham, D.W. Watson, M.G. Waldvogel, and C. Schal (2003). Boric acid dust as a component of an integrated cockroach management program in confined swine production. Journal of Economic Entomology 96: 1362-1366.

12. Fan Y., L. Zurek , M.J. Dykstra, and C. Schal (2003). Hydrocarbon synthesis by enzymatically dissociated oenocytes of the abdominal integument of the German cockroach, Blattella germanica. Naturwissenschaften 90: 121-126.

11. Trexler J.D., C.S. Apperson,L. Zurek, C. Gemeno, C. Schal, M. Kaufman, E.D. Walker, D.W. Watson, and L. Wallace (2003) Role of bacteria in mediating the oviposition responses of Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae). Journal of Medical Entomology 40: 841-848.

10. Watson, D.W.,Denning, S.S., Zurek, L., Stringham, S.M. and J Elliot. (2003). Effects of lime hydrate on the development of the darkling beetle, Alphitobius diaperinus. International Journal of Poultry Science 2: 91-96.

9. Zurek L., D.W. Watson, and C. Schal (2002). Synergism between the entomopathogenic fungus, Metarhizium anisopliae, and boric acid against the German cockroach, Blattella germanica. Biological Control 23: 296-302.

8. Zurek L., D.W. Watson, S.B. Krasnoff,and C. Schal (2002). Effect of the entomopathogenic fungus, Entomophthora muscae (Zygomycota: Entomophthoraceae) on sex pheromone and other cuticular hydrocarbons of the house fly, Musca domestica.Journal of Invertebrate Pathology80: 171-176.

7. Barbieri E., B.J. Paster, D. Hughes, L. Zurek, D.P. Moser, A. Teske, and M.L. Sogin (2001). Phylogenetic characterization of epibiotic bacteria in the accessory nidamental gland and the egg capsules of the squid Loligo paelei (Cephalopoda: Loliginidae). Environmental Microbiology 3:151-167.

6. Dugas J.E., Zurek L., Paster B.P., Keddie B.A., and E.R. Leadbetter (2001). Isolation and characterization of the Chryseobacterium strain from the gut of the American cockroach, Periplaneta americana. Archives of Microbiology 175: 259-262

5. Zurek L., Denning S.S., Schal C., and D.W. Watson (2001). Vector competence of Musca domestica (Diptera: Muscidae) for Yersinia pseudotuberculosis. Journal of Medical Entomology 38: 333-336.

4. Zurek L. and B.A. Keddie (2000). Beauveria bassiana (Balsamo) Viullemin - a promising biological control agentof the satin moth (Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae). Biocontrol Science and Technology 10: 641-644.

3. Zurek L., Schal C., and D.W. Watson (2000). Diversity and contribution of the gastro-intestinal bacterial community to the development of Musca domestica (Diptera: Muscidae) larvae. Journal of Medical Entomology 37: 924-928.

2. Zurek L. and B.A. Keddie (1998). Significance of methanogenic symbionts for development of the American cockroach, Periplaneta americana. Journal of Insect Physiology 44: 645-651.

1. Zurek L. and B.A. Keddie (1996). Contribution of the colon and colonic anaerobic bacterial flora to the metabolism and development of the American cockroach, Periplaneta americana L. Journal of Insect Physiology 42: 743-748.