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IncA/C plasmids harboured in serious multidrug-resistant Vibrio cholerae serogroup O139 strains in China

Wang, Ruibai, Yu, Dong, Zhu, Lianhui, Li, Jie, Yue, Junjie, Kan, Biao
International journal of antimicrobial agents 2015 v.45 no.3 pp. 249-254
Vibrio cholerae O139, antibiotic resistance genes, antibiotics, cholera, disease outbreaks, multiple drug resistance, plasmids, public health, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, serotypes, China
Vibrio cholerae serogroup O139 emerged in 1992 and is one of two major serogroups to have caused cholera epidemics. After 1998, serious multidrug-resistant (MDR) O139 strains quickly became common in China, showing a multidrug resistance profile to eight antibiotics. It is a great threat to public health, and elucidation of its mechanisms of resistance will provide a helpful guide for the clinical treatment and prevention of cholera. In this study, mega-plasmids from MDR V. cholerae O139 strains were identified by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) without enzyme digestion. One plasmid was isolated and sequenced, belonging to the IncA/C family. Ten antibiotic resistance genes were found in the MDR regions, including a blaTEM-20 gene, and these genes endowed the host with resistance to seven antibiotics. This kind of plasmid was positive in 71.2% (198/278) of toxigenic O139 strains, and the rate of plasmid positivity was consistent with the yearly change in MDR rates of these strains. This study reveals an important role of the IncA/C family plasmid in the spread of multiple antibiotic resistance of epidemic V. cholerae serogroup O139 strains, which has recombined with plasmids from different bacterial species and transferred among V. cholerae strains.