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J Antimicrob Chemother. 1997 Dec;40(6):823-31.

Transcontinental importation into the UK of Escherichia coli expressing a plasmid-mediated AmpC-type beta-lactamase exposed during an outbreak of SHV-5 extended-spectrum beta-lactamase in a Leeds hospital.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Leeds, UK.


Sixteen strains of Escherichia coli with high-level resistance to extended-spectrum cephalosporins and other classes of antibiotic have been isolated at St James' University Hospital, Leeds. They produce up to three separate beta-lactamases: TEM-1, SHV-5 and, in five isolates, a plasmid-mediated AmpC-type enzyme. With the exception of carbapenems, the isolates reported in this study were resistant to all beta-lactam antibiotics including extended-spectrum cephalosporins and the monobactam aztreonam. There was evidence of the spread of a plasmid encoding SHV-5, particularly amongst patients on the liver transplant unit. Sensitivity to beta-lactam antibiotics in five isolates expressing the AmpC-type beta-lactamase was not restored by the beta-lactamase inhibitor clavulanic acid. These bacteria also carried blaSHV-5 on a large plasmid. PCR-amplification of the structural gene and digestion with restriction endonucleases demonstrated that the plasmid-mediated blaAmpC probably identified as BIL-1 using the criteria available. Four of the five patients carrying isolates that carried the plasmid-located blaAmpC gene had recently visited the Indian subcontinent and we presume that they returned carrying these bacteria. Restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis using pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) suggests that at least four distinct strains existed amongst these five isolates. The two isolates that had very similar PFGE patterns had different plasmid profiles and were isolated from different locations in the hospital and at different times. This study demonstrates the ease with which highly resistant bacteria can be imported into the UK and spread within hospitals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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