Microarray-based detection of resistance and virulence factors in commensal Escherichia coli from livestock and farmers in Egypt

The objective of our study was to provide a molecular analysis using DNA-microarray based assays of commensal E. coli populations from apparently healthy livestock and their attendants to assess the virulence potential as well as multidrug resistance (MDR) genotypes. We randomly collected 132 fecal samples from seemingly healthy smallholder´s food producing animals [buffalo (n = 32) and cattle (n = 50)] as well as from contacting farmers (n = 50). Bacterial isolation and identification were performed using standard protocols, while E. coli isolates were characterized using a DNA microarray system targeting 60 different virulence and 47 antibiotic resistance genes of clinical importance and allowing assignment to most common H and O types. From the fecal samples examined, 47 E. coli isolates were obtained. The array predicted serotypes for 14 out of the 47 E. coli isolates. Six E. coli isolates were identified as STEC since Shiga toxin genes were detected. In summary, 36 different virulence genes were identified; of which, hemL, lpfA and iss were most prevalent. Thirty-four E. coli isolates were found to carry at least one antimicrobial resistance gene. Of these, 20 did exhibit genes allowing strain classification as MDR. More than half of the isolates contained antimicrobial resistance genes associated with beta lactam resistance 27/47 (57.5%). The 13 remaining isolates did not contain any resistance gene tested with the array. Our study demonstrated the presence of antimicrobial resistance genes and virulence genotypes among commensal E. coli of human and animal sources.



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