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J Clin Microbiol. 2002 Dec;40(12):4659-65.

Characterization of Tn1546 in vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium isolated from canine urinary tract infections: evidence of gene exchange between human and animal enterococci.

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Center for Veterinary Medicine, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Laurel, Maryland 20708, USA.


Thirty-five enterococcal isolates were recovered from dogs diagnosed with urinary tract infections at the Michigan State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital over a 2-year period (1996 to 1998). Isolated species included Enterococcus faecium (n = 13), Enterococcus faecalis (n = 7), Enterococcus gallinarum (n = 11), and Enterococcus casseliflavus (n = 4). Antimicrobial susceptibility testing revealed several different resistance phenotypes, with the majority of the enterococcal isolates exhibiting resistance to three or more antibiotics. One E. faecium isolate, CVM1869, displayed high-level resistance to vancomycin (MIC > 32 micro g/ml) and gentamicin (MIC > 2,048 micro g/ml). Molecular analysis of this isolate revealed the presence of Tn1546 (vanA), responsible for high-level vancomycin resistance, and Tn5281 carrying aac6'-aph2", conferring high-level aminoglycoside resistance. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis analysis revealed that CVM1869 was a canine E. faecium clone that had acquired Tn1546, perhaps from a human vancomycin-resistant E. faecium. Transposons Tn5281 and Tn1546 were located on two different conjugative plasmids. Sequence analysis revealed that in Tn1546, ORF1 had an 889-bp deletion and an IS1216V insertion at the 5' end and an IS1251 insertion between vanS and vanH. To date, this particular form of Tn1546 has only been described in human clinical vancomycin-resistant enterococcus isolates unique to the United States. Additionally, this is the first report of a vancomycin-resistant E. faecium isolated from a companion animal in the United States.

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