Fecal carriage of extended-spectrum β-lactamases and AmpC-producing Escherichia coli in a Libyan community

Salwa Fouad Ahmed, Mostafa Mohamed M Ali, Zienat Kamel Mohamed, Tarek A Moussa, John D Klena
Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials 2014, 13: 22

BACKGROUND: Extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs), including the AmpC type, are important mechanisms of resistance among Enterobacteriaeceae. CTX-M type extended-spectrum β- lactamases, of which there are now over 90 variants, are distributed globally, yet appear to vary in regional distribution. AmpC β-lactamases hydrolyze third generation cephalosporins, but are resistant to inhibition by clavulanate or other β-lactamase inhibitors in vitro. Fecal carriage and rates of colonization by bacteria harboring these resistance mechanisms have been reported in patients with community-acquired infections and in healthy members of their households. Expression of these ESBLs compromises the efficacy of current antibacterial therapies, potentially increasing the seriousness of hospital- and community-acquired Escherichia coli (E. coli) infections.To investigate the occurrence of ESBL-producing E. coli in human fecal flora isolated from two pediatric populations residing in the Libyan cities Zleiten and Abou El Khoms. Isolates were further studied to characterize genes encoding β-lactam resistance, and establish genetic relationships.

METHODS: Antibiotic resistance profiles of phenotypically characterized E. coli isolates recovered from the stools of 243 Libyan children during two surveillance periods in 2001 and 2007 were determined by the disk diffusion method. ESBL-screening was performed using the cephalosporin/clavulanate double synergy disc method, and the AmpC-phenotype was confirmed by the aminophenyl-boronic acid test. ESBL genes were molecularly characterized. Phylogenetic group and multilocus sequence typing (MLST) were determined for ESBL-producing isolates and PFGE was performed to compare banding profiles of some dominant strains.

RESULTS: ESBLs were identified in 13.4% (18/134) of E. coli isolates, and nine isolates (6.7%) demonstrated AmpC activity; all 18 isolates contained a CTX-M gene. Three CTX-M gene families (CTX-M-1, n=9; CTX-M-15, n=8 and CTX-M-3, n=1) were distributed in diverse E. coli backgrounds (phylogenetic group D, 39%; B2, 28%; B1, 22% and A, 11%). MLST analysis revealed 14 sequence type (ST) with six new sequence types. The gene encoding the CMY-2 enzyme was detected in five AmpC-positive E. coli.

CONCLUSIONS: These results identified heterogeneous clones of CTX-M-producing E. coli in the fecal isolates, indicating that the intestinal tract acts as a reservoir for ESBL-producing organisms, and a trafficker of antibiotic resistance genes.

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