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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Exploring the epidemiology of mcr genes, genetic context and plasmids in Enterobacteriaceae originating from pigs and humans on farms in Thailand

Leangapichart, Thongpan; Stosic, Milan S.; Hickman, Rachel A.; Lunha, Kamonwan; Jiwakanon, Jatesada; Angkititrakul, Sunpetch; Magnusson, Ulf; Van Boeckel, Thomas P.; Jarhult, Josef D.; Sunde, Marianne


Objectives: In veterinary medicine, colistin has been widely used as therapeutic and prophylactic agent, and for growth promotion. However, colistin has been re-introduced into treatment of human MDR bacterial infections. We assessed the characteristics and spread of plasmid-borne colistin resistance among healthy pigs, workers with animal-contact and their household members in Thailand.Methods: WGS and MIC data of 146 mcr-positive isolates from a cross-sectional One Health study were ana-lysed. Long-read sequencing and conjugation were performed for selected isolates.Results: mcr-carrying isolates were detected in 38% of pooled-pig samples and 16% of human faecal samples. Of 143 Escherichia coli and three Escherichia fergusonii, mcr-1, mcr-3, and mcr-9 variants were identified in 96 (65.8%), 61 (41.8%) and one (0.7%) isolate, respectively. Twelve E. coli co-harboured two mcr variants (mcr-1 and mcr-3). Clonal transmission was detected in five out of 164 farms. mcr-1 was mostly harboured by epidemic IncX4 and IncHI1 plasmids (89.9%). Conversely, mcr-3 was harboured by a range of different plasmids. Comparative plasmid studies suggested IncP and IncFII plasmids as possible endemic mcr-3 plasmids in Asian countries. Moreover, mcr-3 was associated with different mobile genetic elements including TnAs2, ISKpn40 and IS26/15DI. Detected genetic signatures (DRs) indicated recent mcr-3 transpositions, underlining the mobilizable nature of the mcr-3 cassette.Conclusions: The epidemiology of mcr and the possible evolution of successful plasmids and transposition mod-ules should be carefully monitored. Of special concern is the growing number of different horizontal gene trans-ferring pathways encompassing various transposable modules the mcr genes can be shared between bacteria.

Published in

Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
2023, Volume: 78, number: 6, pages: 1395–1405

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      • UKÄ Subject classification

        Microbiology in the medical area
        Clinical Science

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