The study established the virulence potential of multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli (MDREC) isolates from nosocomial infections in hospitalised dogs. The isolates were resistant to fluoroquinolones, belonged to two distinct clonal groups (CG1 and CG2) and contained a plasmid-mediated AmpC (CMY-7) β-lactamase. CG1 isolates (n = 14) possessed two of 36 assayed extraintestinal virulence genes (iutA and traT) and belonged to phylogenetic group A, whereas CG2 isolates (n = 19) contained four such genes (iutA, ibeA, fimH and kpsMT K5) and belonged to group D. In a mouse gastrointestinal tract colonisation model, colonisation by index CG1 strain C1 was transient, in contrast to the index CG2 strain C2b, which persisted up to 40 days post-inoculation. In a mouse subcutaneous challenge model, both strains were less virulent than archetypal group B2 extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC) strain CFT073; strain C1 caused no systemic signs and strain C2b was lethal to only one of six mice. In a mouse urinary tract infection model, strain C2b colonised the mouse bladder over 2 logs higher compared to strain C1. Whilst both groups of canine MDREC appear less virulent than a reference human ExPEC strain, CG2 strains have greater capacity for colonisation and virulence.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by a Research Development Grant from The University of Queensland and a grant from the Australian Companion Animal Health Foundation. The authors gratefully acknowledge Professor Nancy D. Hanson for reviewing the manuscript. We thank Raewyn Mai, Susan Moss, Elena Constantinoiu, Gabriel Milinovich and Dr Annette Litster for assistance with mouse experiments. H.E. Sidjabat was a recipient of an AusAID postgraduate student scholarship.
- Multidrug-resistant E. coli