Spread of ESC-, carbapenem- and colistin-resistant Escherichia coli clones and plasmids within and between food workers in Lebanon

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2021 Sep 17:dkab327. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkab327. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVES: Knowledge on the dynamic of MDR Escherichia coli in the human community is still limited, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Our goal was to decipher the dynamics of E. coli lineages and plasmids resistant to ESC, carbapenem and colistin within and between food workers in Lebanon using genomic-based approaches.

METHODS: Eighty-four healthy adults working in three bakeries were sampled twice at a 6 monthly interval. E. coli resistant to ESC (ESC-E), carbapenem (CP-E) and colistin (CO-E) were collected on selective plates. Non-duplicate isolates were whole-genome sequenced using the Illumina technology and plasmid transmission was assessed by long-read sequencing. Data were analysed using bioinformatics tools and SNP-based phylogeny.

RESULTS: ESC-E carriage rate reached 34.5% (t0) and 52.9% (t6), and 15 workers were positive at both t0 and t6. Carbapenem resistance (blaOXA-181, blaOXA-204, blaNDM-5) was found in five workers at t0 and two at t6, while colistin resistance (mcr-1.1) was found in five workers at t0 and one at t6. Forty-seven different STs were identified, of which three STs were predominant (ST131, n = 9; ST10, n = 5; ST69, n = 5). One worker presented the same ESC-E clone at t0 and t6. Twelve different events of clonal transmission among individuals were exemplified while plasmid transmission was only shown once.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study revealed a high carriage rate of MDR E. coli (60.7%) and the emergence of CP and colistin resistance in the Lebanese community. Incidental and long-term ESC-E carriage was observed in 41.7% and 17.9% of the workers, respectively. The high clonal diversity suggests an important dynamic of acquisition and loss of MDR E. coli and limited plasmid spread.

PMID:34534282 | DOI:10.1093/jac/dkab327