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Title: Longitudinal genomic surveillance of multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli carriage in critical care patients
Authors: Chaar, Mira El 
Khoury, Yaralynn
Douglas, Gavin M
El Kazzi, Samir
Jisr, Tamima
Soussi, Shatha
Merhi, Georgi
Moghnieh, Rima A
Shapiro, B Jesse
Affiliations: Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences 
Keywords: E. coli
Longitudinal study
Whole-genome sequencing
Issue Date: 2024-02-06
Publisher: National Library of Medicine
Part of: Microbiology Spectrum
Volume: 12
Issue: 2
Colonization with multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli strains causes a substantial health burden in hospitalized patients. We performed a longitudinal genomics study to investigate the colonization of resistant E. coli strains in critically ill patients and to identify evolutionary changes and strain replacement events within patients. Patients were admitted to the intensive care unit and hematology wards at a major hospital in Lebanon. Perianal swabs were collected from participants on admission and during hospitalization, which were screened for extended-spectrum beta-lactamases and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales. We performed whole-genome sequencing and analysis on E. coli strains isolated from patients at multiple time points. The E. coli isolates were genetically diverse, with 11 sequence types (STs) identified among 22 isolates sequenced. Five patients were colonized by E. coli sequence type 131 (ST131)-encoding CTX-M-27, an emerging clone not previously observed in clinical samples from Lebanon. Among the eight patients whose resident E. coli strains were tracked over time, five harbored the same E. coli strain with relatively few mutations over the 5 to 10 days of hospitalization. The other three patients were colonized by different E. coli strains over time. Our study provides evidence of strain diversity within patients during their hospitalization. While strains varied in their antimicrobial resistance profiles, the number of resistance genes did not increase over time. We also show that ST131-encoding CTX-M-27, which appears to be emerging as a globally important multidrug-resistant E. coli strain, is also prevalent among critical care patients and deserves further monitoring.IMPORTANCEUnderstanding the evolution of bacteria over time in hospitalized patients is of utmost significance in the field of infectious diseases. While numerous studies have surveyed genetic diversity and resistance mechanisms in nosocomial infections, time series of within-patient dynamics are rare, and high-income countries are over-represented, leaving low- and middle-income countries understudied. Our study aims to bridge these research gaps by conducting a longitudinal survey of critically ill patients in Lebanon. This allowed us to track Escherichia coli evolution and strain replacements within individual patients over extended periods. Through whole-genome sequencing, we found extensive strain diversity, including the first evidence of the emerging E. coli sequence type 131 clone encoding the CTX-M-27 beta-lactamase in a clinical sample from Lebanon, as well as likely strain replacement events during hospitalization.
DOI: 10.1128/spectrum.03128-23
Open URL: Link to full text
Type: Journal Article
Appears in Collections:Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences

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