Dissemination of ST131 and ST393 community-onset, ciprofloxacin-resistant Escherichia coli clones causing urinary tract infections in Korea

Mi Young Lee, Hyeon Jin Choi, Ji Young Choi, Minsuk Song, Yoosuk Song, Shin-Woo Kim, Hyun-Ha Chang, Sook-In Jung, Yeon-Sook Kim, Hyun Kyun Ki, Jun Seong Son, Ki Tae Kwon, Sang Taek Heo, Joon-Sup Yeom, Sang Yop Shin, Doo Ryeon Chung, Kyong Ran Peck, Jae-Hoon Song, Kwan Soo Ko
Journal of Infection 2010, 60 (2): 146-53

OBJECTIVE: Ciprofloxacin-resistant Escherichia coli is growing concern in clinical settings. In this study, we investigated the distribution of virulence determinants and phylogenetic groups among community-onset, ciprofloxacin-resistant E. coli isolates causing urinary tract infections (UTIs) in Korea. In addition, the evidence of clonal spread in the community was also examined.

METHODS: From November 2006 to August 2007, 543 community-onset E. coli isolates causing UTIs were collected as part of a multicenter surveillance study. In vitro susceptibility testing was performed using broth microdilution method. Distribution of virulence determinants and phylogenetic groupings were examined. In addition, multilocus sequence typing (MLST) analysis was performed.

RESULTS: In vitro antimicrobial susceptibility testing revealed that 154 isolates (28.4%) were ciprofloxacin-resistant. Of these, 129 ciprofloxacin-resistant E. coli isolates were further characterized. As a result of phylogenetic subgrouping, we found that phylogenetic subgroup D was the most predominant (46 isolates, 35.7%), followed by B2 (44 isolates, 34.1%), A (21 isolates, 16.3%), and B1 (18 isolates, 14.0%). MLST analysis showed 48 sequence types (STs). The most prevalent ST was ST131 (32 isolates, 24.8%), followed by ST393 (23 isolates, 17.8%). While all ST131 isolates belonged to phylogenetic subgroup B2, which is known to be a highly virulent, all ST393 isolates belonged to subgroup D. ST131 and ST393 showed different profiles of virulence factors; papA, papG allele III, and traT genes were significantly more prevalent in ST131 than in ST393 (p values, <0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Based on genotyping, it is suggested that epidemic and virulent ciprofloxacin-resistant E. coli clones such as ST131 and ST393 have disseminated in Korea. However, the diversity of CTX-M genes in ST131 isolates may indicate that ESBL genes have been acquired independently or several ESBL-producing, ciprofloxacin-resistant E. coli clones may have disseminated in the Korean community.

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