Spread of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase CTX-M-producing escherichia coli clinical isolates in community and nosocomial environments in Portugal

Nuno Mendonça, Joana Leitão, Vera Manageiro, Eugénia Ferreira, Manuela Caniça
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 2007, 51 (6): 1946-55
Of the 181 unduplicated Escherichia coli strains isolated in nine different hospitals in three Portuguese regions, 119 were extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-CTX-M producers and were selected for phenotype and genotype characterization. CTX-M producer strains were prevalent among community-acquired infections (56%), urinary tract infections (76%), and patients >/=60 years old (76%). In MIC tests, all strains were resistant to cefotaxime, 92% were resistant to ceftazidime, 93% were resistant to quinolones, 89% were resistant to aminoglycoside, and 26% were resistant to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole; all strains were sensitive to carbapenems, and 92% of the strains had a multidrug resistance phenotype. Molecular methods identified 109 isolates harboring a bla(CTX-M-15) gene, 1 harboring the bla(CTX-M-32) gene (first identification in the country), and 9 harboring the bla(CTX-M-14) gene. All isolates presented the ISEcp1 element upstream from the bla(CTX-M) genes; one presented the IS903 element (downstream of bla(CTX-M-14) gene), and none had the IS26 element; 85% carried bla(TEM-1B), and 84% also carried a bla(OXA-30). Genetic relatedness analysis based on pulsed-field gel electrophoresis defined five clusters and indicated that 76% of all isolates (from cluster IV) corresponded to a single epidemic strain. Of the 47 strains from one hospital, 41 belonged to cluster IV and were disseminated in three main wards. CTX-M-producing E. coli strains are currently a problem in Portugal, with CTX-M-15 particularly common. This study suggests that the horizontal transfer of bla(CTX-M) genes, mediated by plasmids and/or mobile elements, contributes to the dissemination of CTX-M enzymes to community and hospital environments. The use of extended-spectrum cephalosporins, quinolones, and aminoglycosides is compromised, leaving carbapenems as the therapeutic option for severe infections caused by ESBL producers.

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