Pathogenic Escherichia coli strains producing extended-spectrum β-lactamases in the Yeongsan river basin of South Korea

Jeonghwan Jang, Yae Seul Suh, Doris Y W Di, Tatsuya Unno, Michael J. Sadowsky, Hor Gil Hur

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25 Scopus citations

Abstract

A total of 3564 E. coli isolates obtained from Yeongsan River basin of South Korea were investigated for their production of extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) and potential pathogenicity to better understand the linkage between antibiotic-resistant pathogens in the environment and their public health risks. Interestingly, 60% (53 of 89) of the screen-positive ESBL producers were determined to be potentially one or both of the diarrheagenic and extraintestinal pathogenic (ExPEC) pathotypes, suggesting that trade-off between resistance and virulence of E. coli may not apply to this study. In addition, 67% (60 of 89) of the screen-positive ESBL producers possessed more than one β-lactamase gene, and most (59 of 63) of the ESBL producers had the CTX-M-14 enzyme, which is the most dominant ESBL and seems to be related to urban anthropogenic activities. About 68% (36 of 53) of the potential pathogenic strains were resistant to more than 2 non-β-lactam antibiotics. Results from this study indicate that the Yeongsan River basin has been contaminated with antibiotic-resistant and potential pathogenic E. coli strains. While few studies have examined pathogenecity of ESBL-producing bacteria, this study reports the possible public health risk which could be caused by the fecal indicator bacterium itself containing both ESBL genes and virulence factors. This will likely impact the dissemination of potential pathogenic E. coli producing ESBLs in the environment and suggests the need for further investigations of antibiotic-resistant pathogens to prevent public health impacts in the Yeongsan River basin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1128-1136
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume47
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 15 2013

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