Study of Vancomycin Resistance in Faecal Enterococci from Healthy Humans and Dogs in Spain a Decade after the Avoparcin Ban in Europe

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One hundred and 26 faecal samples from healthy dogs (2009) and 157 faecal samples from healthy humans (2007) from La Rioja region (Spain) were tested to know the carriage of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE). VRE with intrinsic resistance (vanC) were found in 12% of healthy dogs and humans (29 Enterococcus gallinarum and four Enterococcus casseliflavus). Nevertheless, VRE with acquired mechanism of resistance were not detected among these samples. Four Enterococcus faecalis isolates with vancomycin MIC of 8-16 mg L−1 were recovered in human samples, but no single organism with known mechanism of acquired resistance could be identified. These 37 VRE isolates (33 E. gallinarum/E. casseliflavus and four E. faecalis) of dog and human origin were further characterized (PCR detection of antibiotic resistance, virulence and bacteriocin genes). High prevalence of tetracycline resistance was identified (70%), especially among dog isolates harbouring tet(M) ± tet(L) genes; erythromycin resistance was also higher among isolates from dogs and they harboured the erm(B) gene, associated with erm(A) gene in one case. Virulence genes were only identified among E. faecalis isolates of human origin (agg, cpd and/or gelE) and never among E. gallinarum/E. casseliflavus of human or dog origin. Five E. gallinarum isolates of dog and three E. faecalis of human origin expressed bacteriocin activity; among them, only one E. faecalis presented activity against Listeria monocytogenes. The bacteriocin structural gene ef1097 was identified in 3 bacteriocin-producing E. faecalis isolates, associated with ent1071 in one of them.

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