Increased frequency of global travel has facilitated the spread of antimicrobial resistant organisms like extended spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)- producing organisms and carbapenamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae through increased exposure and transient or persistent colonisation. This study investigates the impact of travel to Laos and of faecal colonisation with ESBLs aiming to help understand the diversity of organisms and also persistency of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) during the study and on return.

Daily faecal samples were collected from 23 doctors visiting Laos over a 21-day period which allowed detection of both constant colonisation and changes to the bowel colonisation over time. Bioinformatic techniques were used to identify ESBL-producing isolates obtained from participants and their contacts. Isolates were sequenced, assembled and annotated. SNP analysis was performed and phylogenetic trees constructed using the core SNP alignment. was the most prevalent species with a highly diverse array of sequence types. Citrobacter and Klebsiella were the most abundant non- species. This study confirmed that Laos is an area with high levels of AMR with 28% isolates found to have mobile colistin resistance. There was also a highly diverse and extensive spread of unexpected blaCTX-M genes. Prolonged persistence of resistance genes in the three most prevalent study species found after travellers returned is another serious cause for concern emphasising the extended risk of spread of AMR from high risk to low risk countries. Future work will allow exploration of possible AMR transmission and horizontal transfer of resistance between isolates.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

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