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|Title:||Genetic diversity and antimicrobial resistance of Escherichia coli from Tagus estuary (Portugal)|
|Abstract:||Fecal pollution of surface waters is a current world-wide public health concern and may contribute for the dissemination of antibiotic resistance. The Tagus estuary located in the south of Portugal is one of the largest wetlands in the west coast of Europe. In this study, water samples were collected from seven stations with different anthropic pressures along the estuary and evaluated for water quality indicator bacteria. Escherichia coli isolates (n=350) were typed by REP-PCR. Representatives of each REP profile (n=220) were evaluated phenotypically for resistance to 17 antibiotics and characterized in terms of phylogenetic group. Resistant isolates were screened for the presence of antibiotic resistance genes (tet(A), tet(B), sul1, sul2, qnrA, qnrB, qnrS, aacA4-cr, blaTEM, blaSHV, blaCTX-M, blaCMY-like, blaIMP, blaVIM) and integrase genes (intI1 and intI2). The highest antibiotic resistance prevalence was observed for streptomycin and tetracycline followed by β-lactams and sulphonamides. Among E. coli isolates, 65.16% were resistant to at least one of the 17 antibiotics tested and approximately 19% were multiresistant. In our E. coli population phylo-groups A and D were predominant and characterized by higher prevalence of the antibiotic resistance. intI1 and intI2 genes were found in 12% of the isolates with prevalence of class 1 integrons. A strong correlation between the prevalence of integrons and multiresistance was observed.Differences in terms of antibiotic resistance between phylogenetic groups and between sampling sites were statistically significant. The results demonstrate a high prevalence of antibiotic resistance among E. coli circulating in the Tagus estuary with emphasis on the occurrence of resistance to last-resort antibiotics and on the high incidence of multiresistance.|
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