Abstracts: Carriage and population genetics of extended spectrum β-lactamase-producing Escherichia coli in cats and dogs in New Zealand

The incidence of infections with extended spectrum β-lactamase producing Escherichia coli (ESBL-E) is increasing both in humans and animals. There is a paucity of data about the rate of faecal carriage of ESBL-E in pets.

In this study, faecal swabs collected from 586 pets (225 cats; 361 dogs) in Auckland, New Zealand, were analysed for the presence of ESBL-E by culture, and a questionnaire was delivered to the owners.

The ESBL-E were characterised and data elicited by the questionnaires were used for a multivariable analysis, to investigate the factors associated with faecal ESBL-E carriage.

The prevalence of ESBL-E in faecal swabs was 6.4 per cent. The β-lactamase genes detected in the ESBL-E were the blaCTX-M-14 (n = 2) and blaCMY-2 (n = 34). Several isolates displayed multilocus sequence types (ST) associated with human and animal infections.

Multiple isolates sharing the same ST displayed different antibiograms and β-lactamase genes, reflecting horizontal gene transfer between and within ST.

Variables independently associated with increased odds of ESBL-E carriage were: animal received systemic antimicrobial treatment in the six months before the sampling; presence of household members working in veterinary clinics; presence of household members travelling overseas in the six months before the sampling.

We conclude that pets are colonised by ESBL-E which are genotypically similar to the bacteria found to infect humans and animals. The statistical analysis suggested a number of eco-epidemiological factors associated with ESBL-E carriage. In particular, they suggest veterinary clinics may represent hot-spots of antimicrobial resistance.

The study is from Cognosco, AnexaFVC, Morrinsville, New Zealand, and the School of Veterinary Science, and mEpiLab, Hopkirk Research Institute, Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Karkaba A, Hill K, Benschop J, et al. Vet Microbiol 2019;233:61-67.

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