Dissemination of plasmid-mediated fosfomycin resistance fosA3 among multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli from livestock and other animals

P L Ho, J Chan, W U Lo, P Y Law, Z Li, E L Lai, K H Chow
Journal of Applied Microbiology 2013, 114 (3): 695-702

AIMS: To investigate plasmid-mediated fosfomycin resistance related to fosA3 in Escherichia coli isolates collected from different animals in Hong Kong, China, 2008-2010.

METHODS AND RESULTS: In total, 2106 faecal specimens from 210 cattle, 214 pigs, 460 chickens, 398 stray cats, 368 stray dogs and 456 wild rodents were cultured. The faecal colonization rates of fosfomycin-resistant E. coli were as follows: 11.2% in pigs, 8.6% in cattle, 7.3% in chickens, 2.4% in dogs, 0.8% in cats and 1.5% in rodents. The cultures yielded 1693 isolates of which 831 were extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBL) producers. Fosfomycin-resistant isolates were more likely than fosfomycin-susceptible isolates to be producers of ESBL and to have resistance to chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin, cotrimoxazole, gentamicin and tetracycline. Of the 101 fosfomycin-resistant isolates, 97 (96.0%) isolates were fosA3 positive and 94 (93.1%) were bla(CTX) (-M) positive. PCR mapping showed that the fosA3-containing regions were flanked by IS26, both upstream and downstream in 81 (83.5%) isolates, and by an upstream bla(CTX-M-14) -containing transposon-like structure (ΔISEcp1-bla(CTX-M-14) -ΔIS903 or ISEcp1-IS10 -bla(CTX-M-14) -ΔIS903) and a downstream IS26 in 14 (14.4%) isolates. For the remaining two isolates, fosA3 was flanked by a downstream IS26 but the upstream part cannot be defined. In a random subset of 18 isolates, fosA3 was carried on transferable plasmids with sizes of 50-200 kb and the following replicons: F2:A-B- (n = 3), F16:A1:B- (n = 2), F24:A-B- (n = 1), N (n = 1), B/O (n = 1) and untypeable (n = 3).

SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: This study demonstrates the emergence of fosA3-mediated fosfomycin resistance among multidrug-resistant E. coli isolates from various animals. IS26 transposon-like structures might be the main vehicles for dissemination of fosA3.

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