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J Med Microbiol. 2011 Oct;60(Pt 10):1502-11. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.033993-0. Epub 2011 May 26.

Microarray-based detection of extended virulence and antimicrobial resistance gene profiles in phylogroup B2 Escherichia coli of human, meat and animal origin.

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1Department for Microbiological Surveillance and Research, Statens Serum Institut, Artillerivej 5, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark.


Extra-intestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC) causing urinary tract infections (UTIs) most often belong to phylogenetic group B2 and stem from the patient's own faecal flora. It has been hypothesized that the external reservoir for these uropathogenic E. coli in the human intestine may be meat and food-production animals. To investigate such a connection, this study analysed an E. coli phylogroup B2 strain collection (n = 161) of geographical and temporally matched isolates, published previously, from UTI patients (n = 52), community-dwelling humans (n = 36), imported (n = 5) and Danish (n = 13) broiler chicken meat, Danish broiler chickens (n = 17), imported (n = 3) and Danish (n = 27) pork, and healthy Danish pigs (n = 8). The isolates were subjected to microarray analysis for 315 virulence genes and variants and 82 antimicrobial resistance genes and variants. In total, 133 different virulence and antimicrobial resistance genes were detected in at least one UTI isolate. Between 66 and 87 of these genes were also detected in meat and animal isolates. Cluster analyses of virulence and resistance gene profiles, respectively, showed that UTI and community-dwelling human isolates most often grouped with meat and animal isolates, indicating genotypic similarity among such isolates. Furthermore, B2 isolates were detected from UTI patients and meat, with indistinguishable gene profiles. A considerable proportion of the animal and meat isolates belonged to the ExPEC pathotype. In conclusion, these findings suggest that B2 E. coli from meat and animal origin can be the source of most of the virulence and antimicrobial resistance genes detected in uropathogenic E. coli isolates and that there is a general resemblance of animal, meat and UTI E. coli based on extended gene profiling. These findings support the hypothesis of a zoonotic link between E. coli causing UTIs and E. coli from meat and animals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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