Molecular Diversity of ESBL-Producing Escherichia coli from Foods of Animal Origin and Human Patients
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International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
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Abstract: Dissemination of enterobacteria that produce extended spectrum -lactamases (ESBL) throughout the food chain has become an important health concern. This work aimed to evaluate the occurrence of ESBL-producing bacteria in foods of animal origin and to investigate the similarities between food and human isolates. The presence of beta-lactam-resistant Enterobacteriaceae was analyzed in 108 food samples, isolating 10 strains of Escherichia coli, one strain of Citrobacter freundi, and one of Hafnia alvei. E. coli isolates were compared to a group of 15 strains isolated from human patients by antibiotic susceptibility testing, characterization of ESBL genes (blaTEM, blaCTX,), multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and pulse-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Nineteen (14 clinical and five food) isolates carried blaCTX, 14 (six clinical and eight food) carried blaTEM, and three (one clinical and two food) carried blaSHV gen. MLST analysis revealed the prevalence of ST131 among the clinical strains, which grouped together in a PFGE cluster. Food isolates showed higher diversity and two of them (ST57) grouped with clinical strains, whereas another two belonged to clonal groups with virulence potential (ST59). In conclusion, the results showed that foods of animal origin must be regarded as a reservoir of ESBL-producing bacteria of clinical relevance, which might spread through the food chain.
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