Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Environ Int. 2008 Jan;34(1):108-15. Epub 2007 Sep 4.

Characterisation, dissemination and persistence of gentamicin resistant Escherichia coli from a Danish university hospital to the waste water environment.

Author information

  • 1National Center for Antimicrobials & Infection Control, Statens Serum Institut, Artillerivej 5, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark.


The aim of the study was to investigate the potential spread of gentamicin resistant (GEN(R)) Escherichia coli isolates or GEN(R) determinants from a Danish university hospital to the waste water environment. Waste water samples were collected monthly from the outlets of the hospital bed wards and the inlet of the related waste water treatment plant (WWTP) from October 2002 to August 2003. Waste water samples were also collected monthly from a residential area in the same period to be able to compare the prevalence of GEN(R)E. coli isolates from hospital related and residential waste water. The waste water isolates were compared to GEN(R)E. coli isolates obtained consecutively from September 2002 to September 2003 from patients mainly with urinary tract infections at the hospital with respect to Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) profiles. All isolates were investigated for GEN(R) mechanisms (aac(3)-II, aac(3)-IV, ant(2'')-I, armA), phenotypic resistance pattern, and virulence genes (hlyA, chuA, sfaS, fogG, malX, traT, iutA, fyuA, iroN, cnf1) to investigate if the hospital and waste water could be reservoirs of antimicrobial resistance and virulence. The ability for GEN(R) determinants to transfer horizontally was investigated by mating experiments. A total of 38, 15, 21, and two GEN(R)E. coli were isolated from patients, the hospital outlets, the inlet of the WWTP, and the residential area, respectively. GEN(R)E. coli were more prevalent in waste water from the hospital and the WWTP than in waste water from the residential area. PFGE profiling revealed no spread of specific patient isolates to the waste water. The aac(3)-II gene was detected both in patient and waste water isolates. Furthermore horizontal transfer of the aac(3)-II gene of patient origin to a recipient was shown in vitro, indicating a potential spread of the gene from patient isolates to waste water isolates. Regardless of origin, most isolates exhibited multi-resistance and contained several virulence genes. In conclusion, our study showed a possible spread of aac(3)-II from the hospital to the waste water. Most of the GEN(R)E. coli isolates from both patients and waste water had a multi-resistant phenotype and contained virulence genes and should therefore be considered reservoirs of antimicrobial resistance and virulence genes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk