Antibiotic resistance, ESBL genes, integrons, phylogenetic groups and MLVA profiles of Escherichia coli pathotypes isolated from patients with diarrhea and farm animals in south-east of Iran.


Infection Diseases and Tropical Medicine Research Center, Kerman university of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran. Electronic address: [Email]


The aims of this study were to investigate the prevalence, antibiotic resistance, presence of class 1 and 2 integrons, Extended Spectrum β-Lactamases (ESBL) genes, phylogenetic group and epidemiological relationships of EPEC, ETEC and EHEC pathotypes isolated from patients with diarrhea and farm animals in south east region of Iran. A total of 671 diarrheagenic E. coli (DEC) were collected from stool samples of 395 patients with diarrhea and 276 farm cattles and goats. Presence of EPEC, ETEC and EHEC were identified using multiplex-PCR employing primers targeted the shiga toxin (stx), intimin (eae), bundle forming pili (bfp), and enterotoxins (lt and st) genes. The highest proportion of the patients (64%) were children under age 1-15 year (p ≤ 0.05). Among the isolates, atypical EPEC was detected in 26 patients and 14 animal stool samples, while typical EPEC was found in 2 cattles. ETEC isolates were detected in stools of 13 patients and 4 EHEC was identified in 3 goats and one cattle. The isolates were checked for susceptibility to 14 antibiotics. 50% (n = 13) of EPEC and 61.5% (n =8) of ETEC showed multi-drug resistance (MDR) profiles and one EPEC was found to be extensive drug resistant (XDR). In contrast, EHEC isolates were susceptible to the majority of antimicrobial agents. The MDR isolates were positive for blaTEM and blaCTX-M ESBL genes and carried class 1 integrons. Further study on the biofilm formation indicated that, 3 out of 4 EHEC isolates showed strong biofilm, while other pathotypes had either moderate, weak or no biofilm activity. Majority of EPEC isolates were belonged to phylogenetic group B1, all except one ETEC were classified as phylogenetic group A and two EHEC were belonged to phylogroup D, respectively. A multilocus variable tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) exhibited 22 distinct patterns. In conclusion, MLVA data showed high clonal diversity. Presence of EHEC in animal origins pose public health concern in this region.


Antibiotic resistance,Escherichia coli,Extended-spectrum β-lactamases,MLVA,Phylogenetic group,