September 22, 2019  |  

An outbreak of a rare Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli serotype (O117:H7) among men who have sex with men.

Sexually transmissible enteric infections (STEIs) are commonly associated with transmission among men who have sex with men (MSM). In the past decade, the UK has experienced multiple parallel STEI emergences in MSM caused by a range of bacterial species of the genus Shigella, and an outbreak of an uncommon serotype (O117?:?H7) of Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC). Here, we used microbial genomics on 6 outbreak and 30 sporadic STEC O117?:?H7 isolates to explore the origins and pathogenic drivers of the STEC O117?:?H7 emergence in MSM. Using genomic epidemiology, we found that the STEC O117?:?H7 outbreak lineage was potentially imported from Latin America and likely continues to circulate both in the UK MSM population and in Latin America. We found genomic relationships consistent with existing symptomatic evidence for chronic infection with this STEC serotype. Comparative genomic analysis indicated the existence of a novel Shiga toxin 1-encoding prophage in the outbreak isolates, and evidence of horizontal gene exchange among the STEC O117?:?H7 outbreak lineage and other enteric pathogens. There was no evidence of increased virulence in the outbreak strains relative to contextual isolates, but the outbreak lineage was associated with azithromycin resistance. Comparing these findings with similar genomic investigations of emerging MSM-associated Shigella in the UK highlighted many parallels, the most striking of which was the importance of the azithromycin phenotype for STEI emergence in this patient group.


September 22, 2019  |  

Dissemination and persistence of extended-spectrum cephalosporin-resistance encoding IncI1-blaCTXM-1 plasmid among Escherichia coli in pigs.

This study investigated the ecology, epidemiology and plasmid characteristics of extended-spectrum cephalosporin (ESC)-resistant E. coli in healthy pigs over a period of 4 years (2013-2016) following the withdrawal of ESCs. High carriage rates of ESC-resistant E. coli were demonstrated in 2013 (86.6%) and 2014 (83.3%), compared to 2015 (22%) and 2016 (8.5%). ESC resistance identified among E. coli isolates was attributed to the carriage of an IncI1 ST-3 plasmid (pCTXM1-MU2) encoding blaCTXM-1. Genomic characterisation of selected E. coli isolates (n?=?61) identified plasmid movement into multiple commensal E. coli (n?=?22 STs). Major STs included ST10, ST5440, ST453, ST2514 and ST23. A subset of the isolates belong to the atypical enteropathogenic E. coli (aEPEC) pathotype that harboured multiple LEE pathogenic islands. pCTXM1-MU2 was similar (99% nt identity) to IncI1-ST3 plasmids reported from Europe, encoded resistance to aminoglycosides, sulphonamides and trimethoprim, and carried colicin Ib. pCTXM1-MU2 appears to be highly stable and readily transferable. This study demonstrates that ESC resistance may persist for a protracted period following removal of direct selection pressure, resulting in the emergence of ESC-resistance in both commensal E. coli and aEPEC isolates of potential significance to human and animal health.


September 22, 2019  |  

Implications of stx loss for clinical diagnostics of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli.

The dynamics related to the loss of stx genes from Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli remain unclear. Current diagnostic procedures have shortcomings in the detection and identification of STEC. This is partly owing to the fact that stx genes may be lost during an infection or in the laboratory. The aim of the present study was to provide new insight into in vivo and in vitro stx loss in order to improve diagnostic procedures. Results from the study support the theory that loss of stx is a strain-related phenomenon and not induced by patient factors. It was observed that one strain could lose stx both in vivo and in vitro. Whole genome comparison of stx-positive and stx-negative isolates from the same patient revealed that different genomic rearrangements, such as complete or partial loss of the parent prophage, may be factors in the loss of stx. Of diagnostic interest, it was shown that patients can be co-infected with different E. coli pathotypes. Therefore, identification of eae-positive, but stx-negative isolates should not be interpreted as “Shiga toxin-lost” E. coli without further testing. Growth and recovery of STEC were supported by different selective agar media for different strains, arguing for inclusion of several media in STEC diagnostics.


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