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J Clin Microbiol. 2004 Dec;42(12):5444-52.

Heterogeneity among virulence and antimicrobial resistance gene profiles of extraintestinal Escherichia coli isolates of animal and human origin.

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Département de Pathologie et Microbiologie, Faculté de Médecine Vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, 3200, rue Sicotte, C.P. 5000, Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec J2S 7C6, Canada.


Extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC) isolates collected from different infected animals and from human patients with extraintestinal infections in 2001 were characterized for their phenotypic and genotypic antimicrobial resistance profiles, genotypes, and key virulence factors. Among the 10 antimicrobial agents tested, resistance to ampicillin, tetracycline, and sulfonamides was most frequent. Multiresistant strains were found in both the animal and the human groups of isolates. Resistance gene distribution was assessed by colony hybridization. Similar antibiotic resistance patterns could be observed in the animal and the human isolates. Although some resistance genes, such as bla(TEM), sulI, and sulII, were equally represented in the animal and human ExPEC isolates, differences in the distributions of tetracycline [tet(D)], chloramphenicol (catI, catIII, and floR), and trimethoprim (dhfrI, dhfrV, dhfrVII, and dhfrXIII) resistance genes were observed between the animal and the human isolates. Approximately one-third of the ExPEC isolates possessed a class 1 integron. The four major different variable regions of the class 1 integron contained aminoglycoside (aadA1, aadA2, aadA5, and aadA6) and/or trimethoprim (dhfrIb, dhfrXII, and dhfrXVII) resistance genes. The ExPEC strains belonged to different phylogenetic groups, depending on their host origin. Strains isolated from animal tissues belonged to either a commensal group (group A or B1) or a virulent group (group B2 or D), while the majority of the human isolates belonged to a virulent group (group B2 or D). Although the limited number of isolates evaluated in the present study prevents firm epidemiological conclusions from being made, on a more global scale, these data demonstrate that extraintestinal isolates of E. coli can possess relatively distinct intra- and intergroup resistance gene profiles, with animal isolates presenting a more heterogeneous group than human isolates.

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