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Pathotyping and antibiotic resistance of porcine enterovirulent Escherichia coli strains from Switzerland (2014-2015).

ABSTRACT

A total of 131 porcine E. coli were isolated in 2014 and 2015 from the gut of 115 pigs raised in Switzerland and suffering from diarrhea. The isolates were tested for antibiotic resistance, serotypes, virulence factors and genetic diversity. Serotypes were assigned by agglutination tests and virulence genes were identified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Antibiotic resistance profile was determined by the measurement of the MIC of 14 antibiotics and by the detection of the corresponding genes using microarray and PCR approaches. Genetic diversity was determined by repetitive palindromic PCR (rep- PCR) revealing a heterogenous population. Half of the E. coli isolates possessing virulence factors could not be assigned to any of the 19 serotypes tested, but contained toxins and adhesins similarly to the sero-typable E. coli isolates. The most prevalent E. coli serotypes found were K88ac (18%), O139:K82 (6%), O141:K85ac (5%), O108:KV189 (5%), O119:KV113 (3%) and O157:KV17 (2%). The combination of toxins EAST-1, STb and LT-I and adhesin F4 characterizing ETEC was the most frequent. The shigatoxin Stx2e (STEC) and intimin Eae (EPEC) were also detected, but less frequently. Seventy percent of the isolates were resistant to at least one antibiotic and 29% were resistant to more than 3 antibiotics. Isolates exhibited resistance to tetracycline (50%) associated to resistance genes tet(A), tet(B) and tet(C), sulfamethoxazole (49%) [sul1, sul2 and sul3], trimethoprim (34%) [dfr], nalidixic acid (29%), ampicillin (26%) [blaTEM-1], gentamicin (17%) [aac(3) -IIc, aac(3) -IVa and aac(3) -VIa], chloramphenicol (17%) [catAI and catAIII], and ciprofloxacin (8%) [mutations in GyrA (S83L) and ParC (S80I)]. All isolates were susceptible to 3rd generation cephalosporins, carbapenems, colistin and tigecycline. Pathogenic E. coli isolates from pigs in Switzerland could frequently not be assigned to a known serotype even if they contained diarrhea-causing virulence factors. They also harbor resistance mechanisms conferring resistance to antibiotics which are commonly used in pig husbandry, except for colistin. A careful identification of the causative agent and antibiotic susceptibility testing is highly recommended for targeted therapy and prudent use of antibiotics.