E. coli hitching a ride in healthy Japanese food handlers

The actual state of intestinal long-term colonization by extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli in healthy Japanese people remains unclear. Therefore, a total of 4,314 fecal samples were collected from 2,563 food handlers from January 2010 to December 2011.

tokyo-japan-shibuya-tokyu-food-show-depachika-600Approximately 0.1 g of each fecal sample was inoculated onto a MacConkey agar plate containing cefotaxime (1 μg/ml). The bacterial colonies that grew on each plate were checked for ESBL production by the double-disk synergy test, as recommended by the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute. The bacterial serotype, antimicrobial susceptibility, pulsotype, sequence type (ST), and ESBL genotype were checked, and the replicon types of plasmids harboring the ESBL gene were also determined after conjugation experiments.

ESBL producers were recovered from 70 (3.1%) of 2,230 participants who were checked only once. On the other hand, ESBL producers were isolated at least once from 52 (15.6%) of 333 participants who were checked more than twice, and 13 of the 52 participants carried ESBL producers for from more than 3 months to up to 2 years. Fluoroquinolone (FQ)-resistant E. coli strains harboring blaCTX-M were repeatedly recovered from 11 of the 13 carriers of blaCTX-M-harboring E. coli. A genetically related FQ-resistant E. coli O25b:H4-ST131 isolate harboring blaCTX-M-27 was recovered from 4 of the 13 carriers for more than 6 months. Three FQ-resistant E. coli O1:H6-ST648 isolates that harbored blaCTX-M-15 or blaCTX-M-14 were recovered from 3 carriers. Moreover, multiple CTX-M-14- or CTX-M-15-producing E. coli isolates with different serotypes were recovered from 2 respective carriers.

These findings predict a provable further spread of ESBL producers in both community and clinical settings.

Long-term colonization by blaCTX-M-harboring Escherichia coli in healthy Japanese people engaged in food handling

Applied and Environmental Microbiology; March 2016; vol. 82; no. 6; 1818-1827

Kunihiko Nakane, Kumiko Kawamura, Kensuke Goto and Yoshichika Arakawa