Increased prevalence of plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance determinants in chicken Escherichia coli isolates from 2001 to 2007

Si-Yang Huang, Lei Dai, Li-Ning Xia, Xiang-Dang Du, Yong-Hua Qi, He-Bing Liu, Cong-Ming Wu, Jian-Zhong Shen
Foodborne Pathogens and Disease 2009, 6 (10): 1203-9
To evaluate the temporal change in the plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance (PMQR) determinants from 2001 to 2007 in chicken, a total of 532 chicken Escherichia coli isolates were screened for PMQR determinants by polymerase chain reaction and sequencing. The prevalence of qnr genes, aa(6')-Ib-cr, and qepA were 9.8%, 11.7%, and 0.75%, respectively. Among the qnr determinants, qnrA-, qnrB-, and qnrS-type genes were detected in 4 (0.75%), 21 (3.9%), and 27 (5.1%) of the examined isolates, respectively. None of the isolates carried qnrC gene. Ciprofloxacin resistance increased over time (p < 0.01), and a clear trend of increase in the prevalence of qnr and aac(6')-Ib-cr genes among the isolates was shown from 2001 to 2007 (p < 0.01). Pulsed-field gel analysis showed that the PMQR-positive isolates were not clonally related and genetically diverse. Quinolone resistance was transferred by conjugation from qnrB-, qnrS-, and aac(6')-Ib-cr-positive isolates to recipient E. coli. The qnrB and aac(6')-Ib-cr alleles were located on the plasmids with the size of 49 and 50 kb, respectively. However, the qnrS alleles were located on different plasmids with sizes from 57.4 to 88.6 kb, indicating diverse genetic backgrounds. The increasing frequency of ciprofloxacin resistance in E. coli was associated with increasing prevalence of qnr genes and aac(6')-Ib-cr (r(s) = 0.964, p = 0.00045). This survey showed that PMQR determinants were highly prevalent in chicken E. coli isolates in China with a trend of increase from 2001 to 2007. Horizontal transfer and widespread use of quinolone antimicrobials may have contributed to the spread of PMQR determinants in the poultry production system. The widespread dissemination of PMQR could potentially fuel the rapid development of fluoroquinolones resistance.

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