A longitudinal survey of antibiotic-resistant enterobacterales in the Irish environment, 2019–2020
Farrell, Maeve Louise
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Hooban, Brigid, Fitzhenry, Kelly, O'Connor, Louise, Miliotis, Georgios, Joyce, Aoife, Chueiri, Alexandra, Farrell, Maeve Louise, DeLappe, Niall, Tuohy, Alma, Cormican, Martin, Morris, Dearbháile. (2022). A Longitudinal Survey of Antibiotic-Resistant Enterobacterales in the Irish Environment, 2019–2020. Science of The Total Environment, 828, 154488. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.154488
The natural environment represents a complex reservoir of antibiotic-resistant bacteria as a consequence of different wastewater discharges including anthropogenic and agricultural. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine sewage and waters across Ireland for the presence of antibiotic-resistant Enterobacterales. Samples were collected from the West, East and South of Ireland. Two periods of sampling took place between July 2019 and November 2020, during which 118 water (30 L) and 36 sewage samples (200 mL) were collected. Waters were filtered using the CapE method, followed by enrichment and culturing. Sewage samples were directly cultured on selective agars. Isolates were identified by MALDI-TOF and antibiotic susceptibility testing was performed in accordance with EUCAST criteria. Selected isolates were examined for blaCTX-M, blaVIM, blaIMP, blaOXA-48, blaNDM, and blaKPC by real time PCR and whole genome sequencing (n = 146). A total of 419 Enterobacterales (348 water, 71 sewage) were isolated from all samples. Hospital sewage isolates displayed the highest percentage resistance to many beta-lactam and aminoglycoside antibiotics. Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producers were identified in 78% of water and 50% of sewage samples. One or more carbapenemase-producing Enterobacterales were identified at 23 individual sampling sites (18 water, 5 sewage). This included the detection of blaOXA-48 (n = 18), blaNDM (n = 14), blaKPC (n = 4) and blaOXA-484 (n = 1). All NDM-producing isolates harbored the ble-MBL bleomycin resistance gene. Commonly detected sequence types included Klebsiella ST323, ST17, and ST405 as well as E. coli ST131, ST38 and ST10. Core genome MLST comparisons detected identical E. coli isolates from wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) influent and nursing home sewage, and the surrounding waters. Similarly, one Klebsiella pneumoniae isolated from WWTP influent and the surrounding estuarine water were identical. These results highlight the need for regular monitoring of the aquatic environment for the presence of antibiotic-resistant organisms to adequately inform public health policies.