Molecular epidemiology of multiresistant Escherichia coli isolates from community-onset urinary tract infections in Cornwall, England

Neil Woodford, Mary E Kaufmann, Edi Karisik, John W Hartley
Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 2007, 59 (1): 106-9

OBJECTIVES: To study the clonality of gentamicin-resistant, extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-negative and ESBL-producing Escherichia coli isolated from community-onset urinary tract infections (UTIs) in Cornwall.

METHODS: Isolates were identified by API, susceptibilities were determined by local disc testing, and MICs were determined at the reference laboratory, both interpreted using BSAC guidelines. bla(CTX-M) genes were sought by PCR, and isolates were compared by PFGE.

RESULTS: In the years 2004 and 2005, 69 E. coli were submitted by Truro (Cornwall) laboratory for reference laboratory testing: these included 14 gentamicin-resistant, ESBL-negative isolates; 45 with group 1 CTX-M enzymes; seven with group 9 CTX-M enzymes; and three with non-CTX-M ESBLs. By PFGE, nine gentamicin-resistant, ESBL-negative E. coli were distinct (<85% similarity) from all the ESBL producers, but three were related to producers of group 1 CTX-M enzymes, and two isolates were related to a non-CTX-M ESBL producer. An outbreak strain was identified, represented by 11 gentamicin-resistant and one gentamicin-susceptible isolates, all with group 1 CTX-M enzymes, and two gentamicin-resistant, ESBL-negative isolates. This was distinct by PFGE from nationally distributed CTX-M-producing strains. Five of nine patients infected with this strain had been on the same ward in a local hospital; four presented with community-onset UTIs; one inpatient developed a hospital-acquired bacteraemia. Of the other four patients presenting with community-onset UTIs, three were admitted to different hospitals and the fourth had only attended an outpatient clinic.

CONCLUSIONS: Community-onset, ESBL-producing and non-producing E. coli were diverse. Two ESBL-negative isolates were closely related to a local CTX-M-producing outbreak strain, suggesting gain or loss of a bla(CTX-M)-carrying plasmid. An outbreak strain was linked with prior hospital admission and appeared not to represent genuine community acquisition.

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