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Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2009 Jul-Aug;6(6):711-7. doi: 10.1089/fpd.2008.0240.

Molecular characterization of multidrug-resistant strains of Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium and Monophasic variant (S. 4,[5],12:i:-) isolated from human infections in Italy.

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Department of Infectious, Parasitic, and Immune-Mediated Diseases, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.


Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (STM) represents the prevalent cause of foodborne gastroenteritis in Italy with the majority of isolates exhibiting multidrug resistance. A resistant pattern that includes ampicillin (A), streptomycin (S), sulfonamide (Su), and tetracycline (T) (ASSuT) but lacks resistance to chloramphenicol (C) has recently emerged in Italy among strains of STM and of its monophasic variant, S. enterica subspecies enterica serovar S. 4,[5],12:i:-. With the aim to evaluate their clonal relationships, 553 strains of STM and S. 4,[5],12:i:- with the ASSuT and ACSSuT resistance patterns isolated in Italy from human infections between 2003 and 2006 were characterized by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) according to the PulseNet-Europe protocol and nomenclature. Among both the STM and S. 4,[5],12:i:- ASSuT strains, the predominant PFGE profile was STYMXB.0079 (53.2-73.0% of strains, respectively), while the STM ACSSuT strains belonged to the STYMXB.0061 (37.2% of strains) and STYMXB.0067 (29.9% of strains). Bionumerics cluster analysis of the nonunique PFGE profiles showed that more than 90% of ASSuT and ACSSuT-resistant strains were included in two distinct clusters with a genetic homology of 73% each other, suggesting that the ASSuT-resistant strains belong to a same clonal lineage different from that of the ACSSuT strains. Phage typing showed that 23% of the ASSuT STM strains were not typeable and 22.3% were U302. The same phage types were observed among the ASSuT strains of S. 4,[5],12:i:-. A different figure was observed for the ACSSuT strains: the STM isolates mostly belonged to DT104 (70.2%), while none of the S. 4,[5],12:i:- strains belonged to this phage type. This study indicates that the tetra-resistant ASSuT strains of STM and S. 4,[5],12:i:-, increasingly isolated in Italy, belong to a same clonal lineage and that the S. 4,[5],12:i:- strains circulating in our country mainly derive from this STM clonal lineage.

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