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BMC Microbiol. 2008 Jun 6;8:89. doi: 10.1186/1471-2180-8-89.

Genetic characterization of clinical and agri-food isolates of multi drug resistant Salmonella enterica serovar Heidelberg from Canada.

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  • 1Bacteriology and Enteric Diseases Program, National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada, Winnipeg, MB, Canada.



Salmonella enterica serovar Heidelberg ranks amongst the most prevalent causes of human salmonellosis in Canada and an increase in resistance to extended spectrum cephalosporins (ESC) has been observed by the Canadian Integrated Program for Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance. This study examined the genetic relationship between S. Heidelberg isolates from livestock, abattoir, retail meat, and clinical human specimens to determine whether there was a link between the emergence of MDR S. Heidelberg in chicken agri-food sources and the simultaneous increase of MDR S. Heidelberg in human clinical samples.


Chromosomal genetic homogeneity was observed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), DNA sequence-based typing (SBT) and DNA microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization (CGH). Sixty one percent of isolates were indistinguishable by PFGE conducted using XbaI and BlnI restriction enzymes. An additional 15% of isolates had PFGE patterns that were closely related to the main cluster. SBT did not identify DNA polymorphisms and CGH revealed only genetic differences between the reference S. Typhimurium strain and S. Heidelberg isolates. Genetic variation observed by CGH between S. Heidelberg isolates could be attributed to experimental variation. Alternatively, plasmid content was responsible for differences in antimicrobial susceptibility, and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analyses followed by replicon typing identified two divergent plasmid types responsible for ESC resistance.


Due to the overall limited genetic diversity among the isolates, it was not possible to identify variable traits that would be suitable for source tracking between human and agri-food isolates of S. Heidelberg in Canada.

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