1887

Abstract

Shiga toxin-producing (STEC) is a zoonotic, foodborne gastrointestinal pathogen that has the potential to cause severe clinical outcomes, including haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS). STEC-HUS is the leading cause of renal failure in children and can be fatal. Over the last decade, STEC clonal complex 165 (CC165) has emerged as a cause of STEC-HUS.

There is a need to understand the pathogenicity and prevalence of this emerging STEC clonal complex in the UK, to facilitate early diagnosis, improve clinical management, and prevent and control outbreaks.

The aim of this study was to characterize CC165 through identification of virulence factors (VFs) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) determinants in the genome and to integrate the genome data with the available epidemiological data to better understand the incidence and pathogenicity of this clonal complex in the UK.

All isolates belonging to CC165 in the archives at the UK public health agencies were sequenced and serotyped, and the virulence gene and AMR profiles were derived from the genome using PHE bioinformatics pipelines and the Centre for Genomic Epidemiology virulence database.

There were 48 CC165 isolates, of which 43 were STEC, four were enteropathogenic (EPEC) and one . STEC serotypes were predominately O80:H2 (=28), and other serotypes included O45:H2 (=9), O55:H9 (=4), O132:H2 (=1) and O180:H2 (=1). All but one STEC isolate had Shiga toxin () subtype or and 47/48 isolates had the gene encoding intimin involved in the intimate attachment of the bacteria to the human gut mucosa. We detected extra-intestinal virulence genes including those associated with iron acquisition () and serum resistance (), indicating that this pathogen has the potential to translocate to extra-intestinal sites. Unlike other STEC clonal complexes, a high proportion of isolates (93%, 40/43) were multidrug-resistant, including resistance to aminoglycosides, beta-lactams, chloramphenicol, sulphonamides, tetracyclines and trimethoprim.

The clinical significance of this clonal complex should not be underestimated. Exhibiting high levels of AMR and a combination of STEC and extra-intestinal pathogenic (ExPEC) virulence profiles, this clonal complex is an emerging threat to public health.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • National Institute for Health Research (Award 111815)
    • Principle Award Recipient: EllaVictoria Rodwell
  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License. This article was made open access via a Publish and Read agreement between the Microbiology Society and the corresponding author’s institution.
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2021-12-17
2022-01-29
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