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WGS-Based Analysis of Carbapenem-Resistant Acinetobacter baumannii in Vietnam and Molecular Characterization of Antimicrobial Determinants and MLST in Southeast Asia

Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (A. baumannii, CRAb) is an emerging global threat for healthcare systems, particularly in Southeast Asia. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology was employed to map genes associated with antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and to identify multilocus sequence types (MLST). Eleven strains isolated from humans in Vietnam were sequenced, and their AMR genes and MLST were compared to published genomes of strains originating from Southeast Asia, i.e., Thailand (n = 49), Myanmar (n = 38), Malaysia (n = 11), Singapore (n = 4) and Taiwan (n = 1). Ten out of eleven Vietnamese strains were CRAb and were susceptible only to colistin. All strains harbored ant(3”)-IIa, armA, aph(6)-Id and aph(3”) genes conferring resistance to aminoglycosides, and blaOXA-51 variants and blaADC-25 conferring resistance to ß-lactams. More than half of the strains harbored genes that confer resistance to tetracyclines, sulfonamides and macrolides. The strains showed high diversity, where six were assigned to sequence type (ST)/2, and two were allocated to two new STs (ST/1411-1412). MLST analyses of 108 strains from Southeast Asia identified 19 sequence types (ST), and ST/2 was the most prevalent found in 62 strains. A broad range of AMR genes was identified mediating resistance to ß-lactams, including cephalosporins and carbapenems (e.g., blaOXA-51-like, blaOXA-23, blaADC-25, blaADC-73, blaTEM-1, blaNDM-1), aminoglycosides (e.g., ant(3”)-IIa, aph(3”)-Ib, aph(6)-Id, armA and aph(3’)-Ia), phenicoles (e.g., catB8), tetracyclines (e.g., tet.B and tet.39), sulfonamides (e.g., sul.1 and sul.2), macrolides and lincosamide (e.g., mph.E, msr.E and abaF). MLST and core genome MLST (cgMLST) showed an extreme diversity among the strains. Several strains isolated from different countries clustered together by cgMLST; however, different clusters shared the same ST. Developing an action plan on AMR, increasing awareness and prohibiting the selling of antibiotics without prescription must be mandatory for this region. Such efforts are critical for enforcing targeted policies on the rational use of carbapenem compounds and controlling AMR dissemination and emergence in general.

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