Recent emergence of clonal group O25b:K1:H4-B2-ST131 ibeA strains among Escherichia coli poultry isolates, including CTX-M-9-producing strains, and comparison with clinical human isolates

Azucena Mora, Alexandra Herrera, Rosalia Mamani, Cecilia López, María Pilar Alonso, Jesús E Blanco, Miguel Blanco, Ghizlane Dahbi, Fernando García-Garrote, Julia María Pita, Amparo Coira, María Isabel Bernárdez, Jorge Blanco
Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2010, 76 (21): 6991-7
To discern the possible spread of the Escherichia coli O25b:H4-ST131 clonal group in poultry and the zoonotic potential of avian strains, we made a retrospective search of our strain collection and compared the findings for those strains with the findings for current strains. Thus, we have characterized a collection of 19 avian O25b:H4-ST131 E. coli strains isolated from 1995 to 2010 which, interestingly, harbored the ibeA gene. Using this virulence gene as a criterion for selection, we compared those 19 avian strains with 33 human O25b:H4-ST131 ibeA-positive E. coli strains obtained from patients with extraintestinal infections (1993 to 2009). All 52 O25b:H4-ST131 ibeA-positive E. coli strains shared the fimH, kpsMII, malX, and usp genes but showed statistically significant differences in nine virulence factors, namely, papGIII, cdtB, sat, and kpsMII K5, which were associated with human strains, and iroN, kpsMII K1, cvaC, iss, and tsh, which were associated with strains of avian origin. The XbaI macrorestriction profiles of the 52 E. coli O25b:H4-ST131 ibeA-positive strains revealed 11 clusters (clusters I to XI) of >85% similarity, with four clusters including strains of human and avian origin. Cluster VII (90.9% similarity) grouped 10 strains (7 avian and 3 human strains) that mostly produced CTX-M-9 and that also shared the same virulence profile. Finally, we compared the macrorestriction profiles of the 12 CTX-M-9-producing O25b:H4-ST131 ibeA strains (7 avian and 5 human strains) identified among the 52 strains with those of 15 human O25b:H4-ST131 CTX-M-14-, CTX-M-15-, and CTX-M-32-producing strains that proved to be negative for ibeA and showed that they clearly differed in the level of similarity from the CTX-M-9-producing strains. In conclusion, E. coli clonal group O25b:H4-ST131 ibeA has recently emerged among avian isolates with the new acquisition of the K1 capsule antigen and includes CTX-M-9-producing strains. This clonal group represents a real zoonotic risk that has crossed the barrier between human and avian hosts.

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