Use of whole genome sequencing of commensal Escherichia coli in pigs for antimicrobial resistance surveillance, United Kingdom, 2018

Emma Stubberfield, Manal AbuOun, Ellie Sayers, Heather M O'Connor, Roderick M Card, Muna F Anjum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


BackgroundSurveillance of commensal Escherichia coli, a possible reservoir of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genes, is important as they pose a risk to human and animal health. Most surveillance activities rely on phenotypic characterisation, but whole genome sequencing (WGS) presents an alternative.AimIn this retrospective study, we tested 515 E. coli isolated from pigs to evaluate the use of WGS to predict resistance phenotype.MethodsMinimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) was determined for nine antimicrobials of clinical and veterinary importance. Deviation from wild-type, fully-susceptible MIC was assessed using European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (EUCAST) epidemiological cut-off (ECOFF) values. Presence of AMR genes and mutations were determined using APHA SeqFinder. Statistical two-by-two table analysis and Cohen's kappa (k) test were applied to assess genotype and phenotype concordance.ResultsOverall, correlation of WGS with susceptibility to the nine antimicrobials was 98.9% for test specificity, and 97.5% for the positive predictive value of a test. The overall kappa score (k = 0.914) indicated AMR gene presence was highly predictive of reduced susceptibility and showed excellent correlation with MIC. However, there was variation for each antimicrobial; five showed excellent correlation; four very good and one moderate. Suggested ECOFF adjustments increased concordance between genotypic data and kappa values for four antimicrobials.ConclusionWGS is a powerful tool for accurately predicting AMR that can be used for national surveillance purposes. Additionally, it can detect resistance genes from a wider panel of antimicrobials whose phenotypes are currently not monitored but may be of importance in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Issue number50
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2019

Cite this