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Investigation of the presence of ESBL-producing Escherichia coli in the North Wales and West Midlands areas of the UK in 2007 to 2008 using scanning surveillance

Between November 5, 2007 and November 4, 2008, faecal samples from cattle and sheep submitted for diagnostic purposes to the Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) (now AHVLA) regional laboratories (covering North Wales and the West Midlands) were screened for the presence of Escherichia coli that produces CTX-M extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) using the selective medium CHROMagar CTX. Samples from 113 farms were tested and eight ESBL-positive farms identified. Of these, six farms were identified via submissions of cattle faeces and two from sheep. Gene sequencing revealed both group 1 and group 9 CTX-M enzymes corresponding to CTX-M-14, CTX-M-14B (group 9) and CTX-M-15/28 (group 1). Analysis of these isolates by nanoarray revealed that some were carrying a range of virulence genes including ireA, iroN and prfB, which have been associated with extraintestinal pathogenic E coli, and were multidrug resistant. Geographical analysis with choropleth maps suggested that these CTX-M genes are relatively widespread in the North Wales and West Midlands study area. This work was carried out concurrently with the running of a VLA ESBL surveillance system, which has subsequently identified many more CTX-M positive farms in the UK.

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