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The changing molecular epidemiology of Enterococcus faecium harbouring the van operon at a teaching hospital in Western Australia: A fifteen-year retrospective study

Lee, T.ORCID: 0000-0003-3333-0076, Pang, S., Daley, D.A., Pearson, J.C., Abraham, S. and Coombs, G.W.ORCID: 0000-0003-1635-6506 (2022) The changing molecular epidemiology of Enterococcus faecium harbouring the van operon at a teaching hospital in Western Australia: A fifteen-year retrospective study. International Journal of Medical Microbiology, 312 (1). Art. 151546.

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Abstract

Introduction

Enterococcus faecium is an opportunistic pathogen that has become one of the leading causes of hospital acquired infection that are resistant to multiple critically important antimicrobials.

Aim

The objective of the study was to describe the molecular characteristics and relationship between major strains of E. faecium harbouring the van operon and to determine if the strains had increasing virulence and antimicrobial resistance determinants over time.

Methods

E. faecium harbouring the van operon detected using PCR from surveillance rectal swabs of patients that were admitted to high-risk units at a Perth teaching hospital from 2001 to 2015 were retrospectively analysed using a whole genome sequencing and bioinformatics approach.

Results

ST18, ST78, ST80, ST173, ST203 and ST555 were identified as the major STs accounting for 93.7% of E. faecium isolates. Except for ST173, major STs identified at Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) have been reported across Australia and internationally. Isolates from each ST formed independently branched phylogenetic clusters with each harbouring unique virulence and antimicrobial resistance profiles. Depending on the ST, different genes conferring resistance to similar antimicrobial classes were identified. Except for ST80 which harboured the vanA type operon, all major strains harboured the vanB operon conferring only vancomycin resistance.

Conclusion

Major strains of E. faecium isolated over 15-years showed unique virulome and resistome profiles with no indication of increasing virulence or antimicrobial resistance determinants. Strains were distantly related and the acquisition of different genes encoding similar antimicrobial resistances suggest the independent evolution of each strain.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier GmbH
Copyright: © 2021 Published by Elsevier GmbH
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/63424
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