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Antimicrobial resistance in porcine enterococci in Australia and the ramifications for human health

Lee, T.ORCID: 0000-0003-3333-0076, Jordan, D., Sahibzada, S.ORCID: 0000-0001-7362-8323, Abraham, R., Pang, S., Coombs, G.W.ORCID: 0000-0003-1635-6506, O’Dea, M.ORCID: 0000-0002-2757-7585 and Abraham, S. (2021) Antimicrobial resistance in porcine enterococci in Australia and the ramifications for human health. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 87 (10). e03037-20.

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Enterococci are ubiquitous opportunistic pathogens that have become a major public health issue globally. The increasing prevalence of antimicrobial resistance in hospital-adapted enterococci had been thought to originate from livestock. However, this association between livestock and hospital-adapted enterococci is currently unclear. This study investigates the antimicrobial susceptibilities of enterococci isolated from pig cecal samples and compares the genomic characteristics of Enterococcus faecium from pigs to those of isolates from meat chickens and from human sepsis cases. From 200 cecal samples, antimicrobial susceptibility testing was performed for E. faecium (n = 84), E. hirae (n = 36), and E. faecalis (n = 17). Whole-genome sequencing was performed for all E. faecium isolates, and the sequences were compared to those of previously studied isolates from meat chickens and human sepsis cases through bioinformatics analysis. Resistance (non-wild type) to erythromycin, gentamicin, tetracycline, ampicillin, daptomycin, virginiamycin, and quinupristin-dalfopristin was identified. More importantly, except for a single isolate harboring the vanC operon, no resistance was observed in the three species to vancomycin, teicoplanin, and linezolid, which are critically important antimicrobials used to treat enterococcal infections in humans. The E. faecium isolates from chickens were genetically distinct from human and pig isolates, which were more closely related. Human strains that were closely related to pig strains were not typical “hospital-adapted strains” as previously identified. The results of this study show that enterococci from Australian finisher pigs are not a source of resistance to critically important antimicrobials and that E. faecium from pigs is not part of the current human hospital-adapted population.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Antimicrobial Resistance and Infectious Disease Laboratory
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
Copyright: © 2021 American Society for Microbiology
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