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Int J Food Microbiol. 2006 Feb 1;106(2):235-7. Epub 2005 Oct 10.

Detection of sul1, sul2 and sul3 in sulphonamide resistant Escherichia coli isolates obtained from healthy humans, pork and pigs in Denmark.

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


The occurrence of sulphonamide resistance was investigated in 998 Escherichia coli isolates, obtained from pig faeces collected at slaughter, Danish pork collected at retail outlets and from faeces from healthy persons in Denmark. In total 18% (n=35), 20% (n=38) and 26% (n=161) of the E. coli isolates obtained from humans, pork and pigs, respectively, were resistant to sulphonamide. All sulphonamide resistant E. coli isolates were investigated for the presence of sul1, sul2, sul3 and intI1 genes by PCR. The sul1 gene was detected in 40% (n=14), 29% (n=11) and 55% (n=88) of the sulphonamide resistant isolates from humans, pork and pigs, respectively. The sul2 gene was detected in 80% (n=28), 76% (n=29) and 50% (n=81) of isolates from humans, pork and pigs, respectively. None of the human isolates were PCR-positive for sul3, whereas sul3 was present in 5% of the pork isolates and 11% of the pig isolates. Of the 113 sul1 positive isolates, 97 carried the integron-associated integrase gene intI1. All 20 sul3 positive isolates were positive for intI1, and in 12 of these isolates sul3 was the only sulphonamide resistance gene detected. The origin of sul1 and sul2 found in isolates from healthy humans is speculative, but their spread from pigs to humans via the food chain is possible.

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