D. Mantilla-Calderon, M.R. Jumat, T. Wang, P. Ganesan, N. Al-Jassim, P.-Y. Hong
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy,60(9) pp. 5223-31, (2016)
The emergence of resistance to last-resort antibiotics is a public health concern of global scale. Besides direct person-to-person propagation, environmental pathways might contribute to the dissemination of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs). Here, we describe the incidence of blaNDM-1, a gene conferring resistance to carbapenems, in the wastewater of the city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, over a 1-year period. blaNDM-1 was detected at concentrations ranging from 10(4) to 10(5) copies/m(3) of untreated wastewater during the entire monitoring period. These results indicate the ubiquity and high incidence of blaNDM-1 in the local wastewater. To track the bacteria carrying blaNDM-1, we isolated Escherichia coli PI7, a strain of sequence type 101 (ST101), from wastewater around the Hajj event in October 2013. Genome sequencing of this strain revealed an extensive repertoire of ARGs as well as virulence and invasive traits. These traits were further confirmed by antibiotic resistance profiling and in vitro cell internalization in HeLa cell cultures. Given that this strain remains viable even after a certain duration in the sewerage, and that Jeddah lacks a robust sanitary infrastructure to fully capture all generated sewage, the presence of this bacterium in the untreated wastewater represents a potential hazard to the local public health. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of a blaNDM-1-positive E. coli strain isolated from a nonnosocomial environment in Saudi Arabia and may set a priority concern for the need to establish improved surveillance for carbapenem-resistant E. coli in the country and nearby regions.