National survey of Escherichia coli causing extraintestinal infections reveals the spread of drug-resistant clonal groups O25b:H4-B2-ST131, O15:H1-D-ST393 and CGA-D-ST69 with high virulence gene content in Spain

Jorge Blanco, Azucena Mora, Rosalia Mamani, Cecilia López, Miguel Blanco, Ghizlane Dahbi, Alexandra Herrera, Jesús E Blanco, María Pilar Alonso, Fernando García-Garrote, Fernando Chaves, María Ángeles Orellana, Luis Martínez-Martínez, Jorge Calvo, Guillem Prats, María Nieves Larrosa, Juan José González-López, Lorena López-Cerero, Jesús Rodríguez-Baño, Alvaro Pascual
Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 2011, 66 (9): 2011-21

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the current prevalence of the three clonal groups O25b:H4-B2-ST131, O15:H1-D-ST393 and CGA-D-ST69 (where ST stands for sequence type) among Escherichia coli isolates causing extraintestinal infections in Spain and to characterize their virulence background, 500 consecutive non-duplicate E. coli isolates causing extraintestinal infections were analysed.

METHODS: The 500 isolates were collected during February 2009 from five hospitals in different Spanish regions. Phylogenetic groups, STs, serotypes, virulence genes, PFGE profiles, antimicrobial resistance and extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) enzymes were determined.

RESULTS: The three clonal groups accounted for 19% of the 500 isolates. Furthermore, they accounted for 37% of the isolates exhibiting trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole plus ciprofloxacin resistance, 34% of aminoglycoside-resistant isolates and 30% of multidrug-resistant isolates. Clonal group ST131 was the most prevalent, and accounted for 12% of isolates overall and for 23% of multidrug-resistant isolates. The ST131 isolates exhibited a significantly higher virulence score (mean of virulence genes 8.1) compared with the ST393 (6.0) and ST69 (5.4) isolates. The prevalence of ESBL-producing isolates was 7%. Six (10%) of the 59 ST131 isolates were positive for CTX-M-15 and one (6%) of the 16 ST393 isolates was positive for CTX-M-14, whereas none of the 22 ST69 isolates produced ESBL enzymes.

CONCLUSIONS: The three clonal groups investigated accounted for 30% of the multidrug-resistant isolates, which gives evidence of an important clonal component in the emergence of resistances among extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli. Notably, a single high virulence clonal group (O25b:H4-B2-ST131) causes approximately 1 in every 10 extraintestinal infections in Spain, representing an important public health threat. A new variant of the ST131 clonal group, which is non-ESBL-producing but trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole resistant and with high virulence content, is reported.

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