Multidrug-resistant enterococci in the hospital environment: detection of novel vancomycin-resistant E. faecium clone ST910
Introduction: The role of the hospital environment as a reservoir of resistant bacteria in Tunisia has been poorly investigated; however, it could be responsible for the transmission of multidrug-resistant bacteria. The objective was to study the prevalence of Enterococcus in the environment of a Tunisian hospital and the antibiotic resistance phenotype/genotype in recovered isolates, with special reference to vancomycin resistance.
Methodology: A total of 300 samples were taken (March–June, 2013) and inoculated in Slanetz-Bartley agar plates supplemented or not supplemented with 8 µg/mL of vancomycin. Antibiotic resistance genes were tested by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The clonal relatedness of the vanA isolates was assessed using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and multilocus sequence testing (MLST).
Results: Enterococci were recovered in 33.3% of tested samples inoculated in SB medium. E faecium was the most prevalent species, followed by E. faecalis and E. casseliflavus. Antimicrobial resistance genes detected were as follows (number of isolates): erm(B) (71), tet(M) (18), aph(3’)-IIIa (27), ant(6)-Ia (15), cat(A) (4), and van(C2) (6). Vancomycin-resistant-enterococci (VRE) were recovered from 14 samples (4.7%), when tested in SB-VAN. The 14 VRE (one per positive sample) were identified as E. faecium and contained the van(A),erm(B), tet(M), ant(6)-Ia, and aph(3’)-IIIa genes. Thirteen of the VRE strains were ascribed by PFGE and MLST to a novel clone (new ST910), and only one VRE strain was typed as ST80 included in CC17.
Conclusions: The emergence and spread of new clones of VRE, especially in the hospital environment in this country, could become particularly problematic.
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