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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2018 Dec 10. doi: 10.1093/jac/dky499. [Epub ahead of print]

Klebsiella pneumoniae causing urinary tract infections in companion animals and humans: population structure, antimicrobial resistance and virulence genes.

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CIISA - Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal.
Centro de Investigação Interdisciplinar Egas Moniz, Instituto Universitário Egas Moniz, Caparica, Portugal.
Technophage, Lisboa, Portugal.
Laboratório de Análises Clínicas Dr. Joaquim Chaves, Lisboa, Portugal.



To characterize the population structure, antimicrobial resistance and virulence genes of Klebsiella spp. isolated from dogs, cats and humans with urinary tract infections (UTIs).


Klebsiella spp. from companion animals (n = 27) and humans (n = 77) with UTI were tested by the disc diffusion method against 29 antimicrobials. Resistant/intermediate isolates were tested by PCR for 16 resistance genes. Seven virulence genes were screened for by PCR. All Klebsiella pneumoniae from companion animals and third-generation cephalosporin (3GC)-resistant isolates from humans were typed by MLST. All Klebsiella spp. were compared after PFGE XbaI macro-restriction using Dice/UPGMA with 1.5% tolerance.


blaCTX-M-15 was detected in >80% of 3GC-resistant strains. K. pneumoniae high-risk clonal lineage ST15 predominated in companion animal isolates (60%, n = 15/25). Most companion animal ST15 K. pneumoniae belonged to two PFGE clusters (C4, C5) that also included human strains. Companion animal and human ST15-CTX-M-15 K. pneumoniae shared a fimH-1/mrkD/entB/ycfM/kfu virulence profile, with a few (n = 4) also harbouring the yersiniabactin siderophore-encoding genes. The hospital-adapted ST11 K. pneumoniae clonal lineage was detected in a cat (n = 1) and a human (n = 1); both were MDR, had 81.1% Dice/UPGMA similarity and shared several virulence and resistance genes. Two 3GC-resistant ST348 strains with 86.7% Dice/UPGMA similarity were isolated from a cat and a human.


Companion animals with UTI become infected with high-risk K. pneumoniae clonal lineages harbouring resistance and virulence genes similar to those detected in strains from humans. The ST15-CTX-M-15 K. pneumoniae clonal lineage was disseminated in companion animals with UTI. Caution must be applied by companion animal caretakers to avoid the spread of K. pneumoniae high-risk clonal lineages.


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