Molecular epidemiology of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase–producing extra-intestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli strains over a 2-year period (2017–2019) from Zimbabwe

Faustinos Tatenda Takawira, Johann D. D. Pitout, Gaetän Thilliez, Tapfumanei Mashe, Ana Victoria Gutierrez, Robert A. Kingsley, Gisele Peirano, Jorge Matheu, Stanley M. Midzi, Lusubilo W. Mwamakamba, David L. Gally, Andrew Tarupiwa, Leckson Mukavhi, Marthie M. Ehlers, Sekesai Mtapuri-Zinyowera, Marleen M. Kock

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This study was designed to characterize extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)–producing extra-intestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (E.coli) (ExPEC) associated with urinary tract infections in nine different geographic regions of Zimbabwe over a 2-year period (2017–2019). A total of 48 ESBL-positive isolates from urine specimen were selected for whole-genome sequencing from 1246 Escherichia coli isolates biobanked at the National Microbiology Reference laboratory using phenotypic susceptibility testing results from the National Escherichia coli Surveillance Programme to provide representation of different geographical regions and year of isolation. The majority of ESBL E. coli isolates produced cefotaximase-Munich (CTX-M)-15, CTX-M-27, and CTX-M-14. In this study, sequence types (ST) 131 and ST410 were the most predominant antimicrobial-resistant clones and responsible for the increase in ESBL–producing E. coli strains since 2017. Novel ST131 complex strains were recorded during the period 2017 to 2018, thus showing the establishment and evolution of this antimicrobial-resistant ESBL clone in Zimbabwe posing an important public health threat. Incompatibility group F plasmids were predominant among ST131 and ST410 isolates with the following replicons recorded most frequently: F1:A2:B20 (9/19, 47%), F2:A1: B (5/19, 26%), and F1:A1:B49 (8/13, 62%). The results indicate the need for continuous tracking of different ESBL ExPEC clones on a global scale, while targeting specific STs (e.g. ST131 and ST410) through control programs will substantially decrease the spread of ESBLs among ExPEC.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Early online date15 Nov 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Nov 2021


  • C1-M27
  • ESBL
  • Escherichia coli
  • ST131
  • ST410
  • Zimbabwe

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