Antibiotics (Basel). 2021 Apr 27;10(5):498. doi: 10.3390/antibiotics10050498.
The evolution and dissemination of antibiotic resistance genes throughout the world are clearly affected by the selection and migration of resistant bacteria. However, the relative contributions of selection and migration at a local scale have not been fully explored. We sought to identify which of these factors has the strongest effect through comparisons of antibiotic resistance gene abundance between a distinct location and its surroundings over an extended period of six years. In this work, we used two repositories of extended spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing isolates collected since 2013 from patients at Dignity Health Mercy Medical Center (DHMMC) in Merced, California, USA, and a nationwide database compiled from clinical isolate genomes reported by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) since 2013. We analyzed the stability of average resistance gene frequencies over the years since collection of these clinical isolates began for each repository. We then compared the frequencies of resistance genes in the DHMMC collection with the averages of the nationwide frequencies. We found DHMMC gene frequencies are stable over time and differ significantly from nationwide frequencies throughout the period of time we examined. Our results suggest that local selective pressures are a more important influence on the population structure of resistance genes in bacterial populations than migration. This, in turn, indicates the potential for antibiotic resistance to be controlled at a regional level, making it easier to limit the spread through local stewardship.