1887

Abstract

Shiga toxin-producing (STEC) can cause severe to fatal disease in humans. Antimicrobial treatment is sometimes necessary, but contraindicated due to undesirable clinical outcome. However, recent studies have shown promising outcomes following antimicrobial treatment. Before the establishment of a possible antimicrobial treatment strategy for STEC infections, the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance in STEC needs to be determined.

The resistance status of Norwegian clinical STEC is not known and should be assessed.

We aim to characterize genotypic antimicrobial resistance determinants in clinical STEC in Norway, and determine the prevalence of genotypic resistance in order to inform possible antimicrobial treatment options for STEC infections.

We included all clinical STEC submitted to the Norwegian Reference Laboratory from March 2018 to April 2020. All samples were whole-genome sequenced and screened for genotypic antimicrobial resistance,virulence determinants and plasmid incompatibility groups. We performed phylogenetic clustering of STEC by core-genome multi-locus sequence typing, and statistical association analyses between isolate characteristics and genotypic resistance.

A total of 459 STEC were analysed. For 385 (83.9 %) STEC we did not identify any antimicrobial resistance determinants. Seventy-four STEC (16.1 %) harboured antimicrobial resistance determinants against one or more antimicrobial classes. The most frequent genotypic resistance was identified against aminoglycosides (10.5 %). Thirty-nine STEC (8.5 %) had a multi-drug resistance (MDR) genotype. Genotypic resistance was more prevalent in non-O157 than O157 STEC (=0.02). A positive association was seen between genotypic resistance and the low-virulent STEC O117:H7 phylogenetic cluster (no. 14) (<0.001). Genotypic resistance was not significantly associated to high-virulent STEC. STEC O146:H28 and isolates harbouring the plasmid replicon type IncQ1 were positively associated with MDR.

The overall prevalence of genotypic resistance in clinical STEC in Norway is low (16.1 %). Genotypic resistance is more prevalent in non-O157 strains compared to O157 strains, and not significantly associated to high-virulent STEC. Resistance to antimicrobials suggested for treatment, especially azithromycin is low and may present an empiric treatment alternative for severe STEC infections.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.
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2021-12-06
2022-01-28
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