Two genetically unrelated OXA-163-carrying Klebsiella pneumoniae strains were identified from two infection cases in June 2009 and May 2010 in Cairo, Egypt. OXA-163-producing Enterobacteriaceae had been previously reported in Argentina only. Both patients had no history of travel abroad. The emergence of this newly recognized OXA-48-related β-lactamase able to hydrolyze cephalosporins and carbapenems is especially worrying in a geographic area where OXA-48 is endemic and effective surveillance for antibiotic resistance is largely unaffordable.
Rapidly growing mycobacteria are opportunistic pathogens in patients with underlying risk factors. Mycobacterium abscessus subsp. bolletii is a newly recognized member of rapidly growing mycobacteria, isolated from respiratory tract and cutaneous infections.
We describe a case of chronic disseminated infection caused by M. abscessus subsp. bolletii in a 38-year-old Sri Lankan man with idiopathic CD4+ T lymphocytopenia. Idiopathic CD4+ T lymphocytopenia is a rare cause of immunodysfunction that, similar to human immunodeficiency virus infection, causes a depletion of CD4+ T lymphocytes. M. abscessus subsp. bolletii infection was diagnosed by culture isolation from two sputum samples.
To the best of our knowledge this is the first report of M. abscessus subsp. bolletii disseminated infection in a patient affected by idiopathic CD4+ T lymphocytopenia. In contrast to previous reports, the isolate of M. abscessus subsp. bolletii presented intermediate resistance to clarithromycin and was susceptible to cefoxitin and imipenem.
CD4+ T lymphocytopenia; Clarithromycin; Disseminated infection; Mycobacterium abscessus subsp. bolletii rapidly growing mycobacteria
Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii, initially considered as having a poor clinical relevance, is frequently isolated from infection cases in intensive care units. We describe the epidemiology of carbapenem resistant A. baumannii (CRAB) in a general ICU in Palermo, Italy, from October 2010 to March 2011.
58 of 61 isolates exhibited MICs for meropenem or imipenem ≥16 mg/L. Forty-nine carried blaOXA-23 and two blaOXA-58 genes.
Five subtype clusters were detected by rep-PCR. Clusters D and E included 10 isolates that tested negative for the carbapenem resistance genes. MLST attributed all isolates, but two, with sequence type (ST)2, whereas the two remaining isolates with ST78.
The respiratory tract was the most common site of infection (26 out of 36 cases. 72.2%). A high infection related mortality rate was observed (18 out of 35 patients, 51.4%). Nineteen patients tested positive for other multidrug resistant organisms in addition to CRAB. In eight cases isolates belonging to distinct subtype clusters and/or with distinct carbapenemase profiles were identified.
Carbapenem resistance was prominently driven by the dissemination of CRAB isolates belonging to ST2, carrying the carbapenemase gene blaOXA-23. The colonization/infection of some patients by multiple strains is suggestive of an endemic circulation of CRAB.
The evolving epidemiology of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is characterized by the emergence of infections caused by non multiresistant MRSA carrying staphylococcal chromosomal cassette (SCC)mec IV or V in the healthcare settings. A molecular epidemiological analysis of non multiresistant MRSA isolates from four acute general hospitals was performed in Palermo, Italy, during a one year period.
For the purpose of the study, MRSA isolates were defined as non multiresistant when they were susceptible to at least three classes of non β-lactam antibiotics. Seventy-five isolates were submitted to antimicrobial susceptibility testing, multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for SCCmec, accessory gene regulator (agr) groups, arginine catabolic mobile element (ACME) and Panton Valentine leukocidin (PVL) toxin genes. For epidemiological typing, Multiple-Locus Variable-Number Tandem Repeat Fingerprinting (MLVF) was performed on all isolates and pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) on ST8 isolates.
Non multiresistant MRSA isolates were isolated from all hospitals. Resistances to ciprofloxacin, macrolides and tetracycline were the most prevalent. MLST attributed 46 isolates with ST22, 13 with ST8, eight with ST1, three with ST50 and three with ST398. SCCmec type IV was found in all isolates. PVL was detected in one ST22 isolate. All isolates tested negative for the ACME element. MLVF identified 31 different patterns, some subtype clusters ranging in size between two and 22 isolates. The closely related PFGE patterns of the ST8 isolates differed from USA300.
A polyclonal circulation of non multiresistant MRSA along with blurring of boundaries between healthcare associated (HA)-MRSA and community associated (CA)-MRSA appear to be occurring in our epidemiological setting. A better understanding of spread of MRSA with the support of molecular typing can provide invaluable information in the epidemiological, microbiological and clinical fields.
Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) has recently emerged as an important pathogen in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). The purposes of this study were to characterize methicillin-resistant isolates from an outbreak in a NICU, to examine the genetic traits and clonality of CA-MRSA, and to review the characteristics and outcomes of the neonatal cases and investigate the routes of entry and transmission of the MRSA outbreak strain in the NICU under study.
The study NICU practiced an active surveillance program for multidrug-resistant organisms, including weekly cultures for detection of MRSA from nasal swabs among all the admitted neonates. All first isolates from surveillance cultures and all clinical isolates were submitted for susceptibility testing and genotyping. Data from each infant’s medical records were prospectively included in a database, and the clinical features and outcomes of the colonized/infected infants were assessed.
A total of 14 infants were colonized or infected by a strain of ST1-MRSA-IVa between April and August 2011. The CA-MRSA strain appeared to have been introduced to the NICU by an infected infant transferred from another hospital. The outbreak was successfully contained by multifaceted infection control interventions.
The results of this study confirm that NICU is a healthcare setting with a critical permeability to CA-MRSA. Active surveillance including molecular typing can help to detect and monitor the spread of antimicrobial drug-resistant organisms, and thus trigger timely control interventions.
CA-MRSA; NICU; Epidemiology; Infection control
It is known that supplement use is a widespread and accepted practice by athletes and people who attend commercial gyms. Little is known about protein supplement amongst people undertaking strength training in commercial gyms in Italy when compared to the US.
The purpose of this study was to examine the use of protein supplementation, alone or in association with other supplements, and dietary behavior amongst regular fitness center attendees in Palermo, Italy.
Resistance training information have been collected from 800 regular fitness center attendees for the initial analysis. A specific questionnaire was generated for the experimentation. Data were collected using a face-to-face interview method. Supplement users were then compared to the non users and analyzed using a one-way ANOVA, Kruskall-Wallis, chi-square test or exact test of Fisher when appropriate.
30.1% of the respondents use dietary supplements during their training as a believe it is the "way to gain muscles and strength". Whey protein shakes (50.0%) mixed with creatine and amino-acids (48.3%) were the most frequent choices amongst the users. A majority of the subjects (34.0%) appeared to rely on their gym instructors' advice for their intake; a lower proportion (13.0%) consulted physicians, while none of them consulted nutritionists. A high consumption of milk has been noticed in both users (67,7%) and non-users (52,8%); supplement non-users consumed significantly more snacks and bakery products than users per week (P < 0.001), while users consumed significantly more protein-rich foods (P < 0.01) with a particular preference for meat (48.0%).
A considerable number of regular strength training adepts consume protein supplements mixed with other products (mainly creatine and amino-acids). Limited numbers consult "dietary specialists" and rely mainly on their instructors. We emphasize on the importance of the dissemination of scientifically based information about supplementation in this environment and the promotion of updated educational programs for the instructors.
Studies of the apoptosis mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of tuberculosis have suggested that Mycobacterium tuberculosis can actively interfere with the apoptosis of infected cells. In vivo studies have been performed in adult populations but have not focused on this process in children. In the present study, we analyzed spontaneous T lymphocyte (PBT) apoptosis in the peripheral blood of children with central nervous system tuberculosis (CNS TB), before and after chemotherapy, and compared the results with healthy controls.
A case-control study was conducted from January 2002 to June 2009. It included 18 children with CNS TB and 17 healthy controls. Spontaneous apoptosis of PBTs, including CD4+, CD8+ and CD8+/CD28+ T cells, was evaluated after 24 and 72 h of culture in complete medium, using the Annexin V detection test. Analysis was conducted before and after chemotherapy, and expression of the apoptotic markers CD95 (Fas) and Fas ligand (FasL) was evaluated.
Higher percentages of apoptotic T cells and CD4 lymphocytes were isolated from children with acute phase CNS TB than from children in the control group (p < 0.05). This difference significantly decreased after 60 days of specific treatment. In children with CNS TB, high levels of Fas ligand expression were detected in lymphocyte populations, associated with a high percentage of Fas positive cells, before and after treatment. In contrast to the CD4+ apoptosis profile, we did not find any significant difference in total CD8+ cell apoptosis between children with acute phase disease and the control group. However, the percentage of apoptotic CD8+/CD28+ T cells was significantly higher in the children with acute phase disease than in the healthy controls.
Our findings indicate that CNS TB in pediatric patients increases the sensitivity of CD4 and CD8+/CD28+ T cells to apoptosis, suggesting a hypoergic status of this infection. This could play a key role in the immunopathogenesis of this complicated form of TB. Interestingly, specific chemotherapy is able to normalize both apoptosis sensitivity and T-cell activation.
To investigate global epidemiology of Shigella sonnei, we performed multilocus variable number tandem repeat analysis of 1,672 isolates obtained since 1943 from 50 countries on 5 continents and the Pacific region. Three major clonal groups were identified; 2 were globally spread. Type 18 and its derivatives have circulated worldwide in recent decades.
Shigella sonnei; molecular epidemiology; global distribution; clones; bacteria; dispatch
Knowledge of the etiology of pyogenic liver and pancreatic abscesses is an important factor in determining the success of combined surgical and antibiotic treatment. Literature shows geographical variations in the prevalence and distribution of causative organisms, and the spread of Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase-producing bacteria is an emerging cause of abdominal infections.
We herein describe two cases of intra-abdominal abscesses due to monomicrobial infection by Klebsiella pneumoniae Sequence Type 258 producing K. pneumoniae carbapenemase 3 (KPC-Kp). In case 1, a 50-year-old HIV-negative Italian woman with chronic pancreatitis showed infection of a pancreatic pseudocystic lesion caused by KPC-Kp. In case 2, a 64-year-old HIV- negative Italian woman with pancreatic neoplasm and liver metastases developed a liver abscess due to KPC after surgery. Both women were admitted to our hospital but to different surgical units. The clonal relationship between the two isolates was investigated by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). In case 2, the patient was already colonized at admission and inter-hospital transmission of the pathogen was presumed. A long-term combination regimen of colistin with tigecycline and percutaneous drainage resulted in full recovery and clearance of the multidrug-resistant (MDR) pathogen.
Timely microbiological diagnosis, the combined use of new and old antibiotics and radiological intervention appeared to be valuable in managing these serious conditions. The emergence and dissemination of MDR organisms is posing an increasing challenge for physicians to develop new therapeutic strategies and control and prevention frameworks.
monomicrobial abscess; Klebsiellae pneumoniae; carbapenemases
The genus Salmonella contains two species, S. bongori and S. enterica. Compared to the well-studied S. enterica there is a marked lack of information regarding the genetic makeup and diversity of S. bongori. S. bongori has been found predominantly associated with cold-blooded animals, but it can infect humans. To define the phylogeny of this species, and compare it to S. enterica, we have sequenced 28 isolates representing most of the known diversity of S. bongori. This cross-species analysis allowed us to confidently differentiate ancestral functions from those acquired following speciation, which include both metabolic and virulence-associated capacities. We show that, although S. bongori inherited a basic set of Salmonella common virulence functions, it has subsequently elaborated on this in a different direction to S. enterica. It is an established feature of S. enterica evolution that the acquisition of the type III secretion systems (T3SS-1 and T3SS-2) has been followed by the sequential acquisition of genes encoding secreted targets, termed effectors proteins. We show that this is also true of S. bongori, which has acquired an array of novel effector proteins (sboA-L). All but two of these effectors have no significant S. enterica homologues and instead are highly similar to those found in enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC). Remarkably, SboH is found to be a chimeric effector protein, encoded by a fusion of the T3SS-1 effector gene sopA and a gene highly similar to the EPEC effector nleH from enteropathogenic E. coli. We demonstrate that representatives of these new effectors are translocated and that SboH, similarly to NleH, blocks intrinsic apoptotic pathways while being targeted to the mitochondria by the SopA part of the fusion. This work suggests that S. bongori has inherited the ancestral Salmonella virulence gene set, but has adapted by incorporating virulence determinants that resemble those employed by EPEC.
The bacterial genus Salmonella consists of two species: Salmonella enterica and Salmonella bongori. Salmonella are common causes of food poisoning in humans and can also cause more severe disease such as typhoid fever. Most of the Salmonella that cause disease in humans and animals are members of S. enterica. On the other hand S. bongori, is largely associated with reptiles but can cause disease in humans, albeit rarely. We have determined genomes for S. bongori isolates representing its known diversity. Using this, and existing genome information for a large number of different members of S. enterica, we were able to identify functions found in both species, and therefore likely to be ancestral, and differentiate them from those that have been more recently acquired. This information gives us more perspective on how pathogens evolve over the longer-term and allows us to identify functions that are associated exclusively with isolates that commonly cause disease in humans. Our analysis suggests that when S. bongori and S. enterica diverged they evolved to occupy very different niches.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; MRSA; ST398; ventilator-associated pneumonia; expedited; animals; Italy; letter
The objective of this study was to characterize by serotyping, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), and PCR amplification of virulence genes and markers of epidemic clones I, II, and III (ECI, ECII, and ECIII) 54 human isolates from apparently sporadic cases of infection occurring in the Lombardy region and in the province of Florence, Tuscany, Italy, in the years 1996 to 2007. Listeria monocytogenes isolates were provided by the clinical microbiology laboratories of the Lombardy region and the “Careggi” Hospital of Florence, Tuscany, Italy. Serotyping, PFGE after digestion with the AscI and ApaI enzymes, and PCR amplification for the inlA, inlC, and inlJ genes and ECI, ECII, and ECIII markers were performed according to procedures described previously. Twenty-five (46.3%) L. monocytogenes isolates were assigned to serotype 1/2a, 23 (42.6%) to serotype 4b, and 6 (11.1%) to serotype 1/2b. Thirty-one AscI pulsotypes were recognized among the 54 human isolates. Eleven molecular subtype clusters, of which eight included indistinguishable pulsotypes and three included closely related pulsotypes, were shared by two to seven isolates. Fifteen isolates exhibited unique AscI pulsotypes. Three groups of clustered isolates and two apparently sporadic isolates generated EC amplicons. All strains tested positive for the inlA, inlC, and inlJ genes. Based on the results of serotyping and molecular typing, there were 11 occasions when L. monocytogenes strains with the same subtype were isolated from more than one listeriosis case. A total of 39 out of 54 isolates (72.2%) were attributed to molecular subtype clusters. The results of the study suggest that routine subtyping of L. monocytogenes strains from human listeriosis cases could allow more-timely detection of outbreaks possibly caused by food-borne isolates from a common source and could lead to control of ongoing food exposure, thus preventing the occurrence of more cases.
The object of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of post stroke depression and its possible role as a predictive negative factor in patients receiving home rehabilitation treatment.
We analyzed 103 patients with stroke by correlating comorbidities, clinical and blood test parameters and characteristics of the lesion with depression class identified according to the Hamilton scale and the outcome of the rehabilitation program.
A significant association between hypertension and post-stroke severe depression emerged in the female patients.
Since the literature offers conflicting data, our results may contribute a stimulus for further studies.
Home care; Rehabilitation; Stroke; Depression; Hypertension
Powdered infant formula (PIF) is not a sterile product, but this information appears to be poorly diffused among child caregivers. Parents and child care workers may behave in an unsafe manner when handling PIF.
This study involved parents and child care workers in the 24 municipal child care centres of Palermo. Knowledge and self-reported practices about PIF handling were investigated by a structured questionnaire. A Likert scale was used to measure the strength of the respondent's feelings. Association of knowledge and self-reported practices with demographic variables was also evaluated.
42.4% of parents and 71.0% of child care workers filled in the questionnaire. Significant differences were found between parents and child care workers for age and education. 73.2% of parents and 84.4% of child care workers were confident in sterility of PIF. Generally, adherence to safe procedures when reconstituting and handling PIF was more frequently reported by child care workers who, according to the existing legislation, are regularly subjected to a periodic training on food safety principles and practices. Age and education significantly influenced the answers to the questionnaire of both parents and child care workers.
The results of the study reveal that parents and child care workers are generally unaware that powdered formulas may contain viable microorganisms. However, child care workers consistently chose safer options than parents when answering the questions about adherence to hygienic practices.
At present it seems unfeasible to produce sterile PIF, but the risk of growth of hazardous organisms in formula at the time of administration should be minimized by promoting safer behaviours among caregivers to infants in both institutional settings and home.
This study aimed at detecting the presence of antibiotic-resistant Gram-negatives in samples of meals delivered at the University General Hospital of Palermo, Italy. Antibiotic resistant Gram negatives were isolated in July—September 2007 ffrom cold dishes and food contact surfaces and utensils. Bacterial strains were submitted to susceptibility test and subtyped by random amplification of polymorphic DNA (RAPD). Forty-six of 55 (83.6%) food samples and 14 of 17 (82.3%) environmental swabs were culture positive for Gram negative bacilli resistant to at least one group of antibacterial drugs. A total of 134 antibiotic resistant strains, 51 fermenters and 83 non-fermenters, were recovered. Fermenters and non-fermenters showed frequencies as high as 97.8% of resistance to two or more groups of antibiotics and non fermenters were 28.9% resistant to more than three groups. Molecular typing detected 34 different profiles among the fermenters and 68 among the non-fermenters. Antibiotic resistance was very common among both fermenters and non-fermenters. However, the wide heterogeneity of RAPD patterns seems to support a prominent role of cross-contamination rather than a clonal expansion of a few resistant isolates. A contribution of commensal Gram negatives colonizing foods to a common bacterial resistance pool should not been overlooked.
Salmonella bongori; birds; Italy; letter
Shigellosis is one of the major causes of morbidity in children with diarrhea in Iran. The present study was undertaken to characterize apparently sporadic Shigella boydii strains isolated from pediatric patients in Iran.
Ten S. boydii strains isolated from pediatric cases of gastroenteritis and acute diarrhea in Tehran between December 2002 and November 2003 were submitted to serotyping, antimicrobial susceptibility testing, plasmid profile analysis, ribotyping and pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Seven isolates were attributed to serotype 2, whereas the remaining three belonged to serotypes 14, 18, 19, respectively. Six drug resistance phenotypes (R1 to R6) were defined with R4 – streptomycin (STR), ampicillin (AMP), sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim (SXT) – being the most prevalent. Plasmid analysis resulted in seven different plasmid profiles with one to five DNA bands. All strains, but one, shared the same ribotype, but PFGE differentiated them in four groups.
Based upon ribotyping and PFGE results, endemic circulation of S. boydii in Tehran, Iran, could be attributed to a few clones. Resistance pattern and plasmid profile analysis proved to be very effective in discriminating apparently unrelated strains of S. boydii.
In November 2005, a large outbreak due to Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis (S. Enteritidis) was observed within children who had eaten their meals at 53 school cafeterias in Florence and the surrounding area. A total of 154 isolates of S. Enteritidis were recovered from human cases between November 2005 and January 2006. All strains were assigned phage type 8 (PT8) and a common XbaI pulsotype.
This paper reports the findings of a molecular epidemiological investigation performed on 124 strains of S. Enteritidis isolated in the years 2005 and 2006 in Florence and the surrounding area, including the epidemic isolates.
One hundred twenty-four human isolates of S. Enteritidis identified in the period January 2005 – December 2006 were submitted to molecular typing by single enzyme – amplified fragment length polymorphism (SE-AFLP).
Molecular subtyping by SE-AFLP yielded five different profiles. In the pre-epidemic phase, type A included 78.4% of isolates, whereas only three (8.1%) belonged to type C. All isolates, but one, of the epidemic phase were indistinguishable and attributed to type C. In the post-epidemic period, a polymorphic pattern of SE-AFLP types was again recognized but type C accounted for 73.3% of the isolates during the first six months of 2006, whereas during the remaining six months type A regained the first place, including 52.0% of the isolates.
The epidemic event was attributed to the emergence and clonal expansion of a strain of S. Enteritidis PT8-SE-AFLP type C. Circulation of the epidemic clone was much more extensive than the surveillance and traditional laboratory data demonstrated.
Shigella spp. are major cause of diarrhoeal disease in both developing and developed countries. Shigella sonnei is the serogroup of Shigella most frequently responsible for sporadic and epidemic enteritis in developed countries. In recent years the emergence and spread of S. sonnei biotype g carrying class 2 integron have been frequently reported in many countries. Recently, S. sonnei has been reported as the prevalent serogroup of Shigella in Iran.
The present study was carried out to investigate phenotypic and genetic characteristics of Shigella sonnei isolates identified in the years 2002 and 2003 in Tehran, Iran.
Biotyping, drug susceptibility testing, pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and analysis of class 2 integrons have been carried out on 60 S. sonnei isolates, including 57 sporadic isolates from paediatric cases of shigellosis occurring in 2002 and 2003, two sporadic isolates recovered in 1984 and the ATCC 9290 strain.
Biotype g and resistance to streptomycin, sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim and tetracycline were exhibited by 54 of the 57 recent isolates. Of the 54 biotype g isolates, 28 exhibited a class 2 integron of 2161 bp, and 24 a class 2 integron of 1371 bp, respectively. Class 2 integrons were not detected in four isolates only, including the two endemic isolates recovered in 1984 and two strains from recent sporadic cases. PFGE divided the strains into eight pulsotypes labeled A to H, three major pulsotypes – A to C – including the large majority of the recent sporadic S. sonnei isolates. Pulsotypes A and C were the most prevalent groups, accounting for 41.6% and 35.0%, respectively, of the isolates under study.
The results suggest that biotype g, class 2 integron carrying S. sonnei are prevalent in our geographic area. S. sonnei isolated in the years 2002 and 2003 could be attributed to a few predominant clusters including, respectively, strains with pulsotypes B and C carrying a 2161 bp class 2 integron, and those having pulsotype A and a 1371 bp class 2 integron. A few epidemic clones are responsible for the apparently endemic occurrence of shigellosis in Tehran, Iran.
Food hygiene in hospital poses peculiar problems, particularly given the presence of patients who could be more vulnerable than healthy subjects to microbiological and nutritional risks. Moreover, in nosocomial outbreaks of infectious intestinal disease, the mortality risk has been proved to be significantly higher than the community outbreaks and highest for foodborne outbreaks. On the other hand, the common involvement in the role of food handlers of nurses or domestic staff, not specifically trained about food hygiene and HACCP, may represent a further cause of concern.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate knowledge, attitudes, and practices concerning food safety of the nursing staff of two hospitals in Palermo, Italy. Association with some demographic and work-related determinants was also investigated.
The survey was conducted, by using a semi-structured questionnaire, in March-November 2005 in an acute general hospital and a paediatric hospital, where nursing staff is routinely involved in food service functions.
Overall, 401 nurses (279, 37.1%, of the General Hospital and 122, 53.5%, of the Paediatric Hospital, respectively) answered. Among the respondents there was a generalized lack of knowledge about etiologic agents and food vehicles associated to foodborne diseases and proper temperatures of storage of hot and cold ready to eat foods. A general positive attitude towards temperature control and using clothing and gloves, when handling food, was shared by the respondents nurses, but questions about cross-contamination, refreezing and handling unwrapped food with cuts or abrasions on hands were frequently answered incorrectly. The practice section performed better, though sharing of utensils for raw and uncooked foods and thawing of frozen foods at room temperatures proved to be widely frequent among the respondents. Age, gender, educational level and length of service were inconsistently associated with the answer pattern.
More than 80% of the respondent nurses did not attend any educational course on food hygiene. Those who attended at least one training course fared significantly better about some knowledge issues, but no difference was detected in both the attitude and practice sections.
Results strongly emphasize the need for a safer management of catering in the hospitals, where non professional food handlers, like nursing or domestic staff, are involved in food service functions.
Emergence and global dissemination of multiresistant strains of enteric pathogens is a very concerning problem from both epidemiological and Public Health points of view. Shigella sonnei is the serogroup of Shigella most frequently responsible for sporadic and epidemic enteritis in developed countries. The dissemination is associated most often to human to human transmission, but foodborne episodes have also been described. In recent years the circulation of multiresistant strains of S. sonnei biotype g carrying a class 2 integron has been reported in many countries worldwide. In southern Italy a strain with similar properties has been responsible for a large community outbreak occurred in 2003 in Palermo, Sicily.
The objective of this study was to date the emergence of the biotype g strain carrying the class 2 integron in southern Italy and to evaluate the genetic heterogeneity of biotype g S. sonnei isolated throughout an extended interval of time.
A total of 31 clinical isolates of S. sonnei biotype g identified in southern Italy during the years 1971–2000 were studied. The strains were identified at the serogroup level, characterized by biochemical tests and submitted to antimicrobial susceptibility testing. Molecular typing was performed by pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) after digestion of DNA by XbaI. Carriage of class 2 integrons was investigated by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with specific primers and confirmed by restriction endonuclease analysis of amplicons.
The 15 isolates of S. sonnei biotype g identified in the decade 1971–1980 showed highly heterogeneous drug resistance profiles and pulsotypes. None of the isolates was simultaneous resistant to streptomycin and trimethoprim and none was class 2 integron positive. On the contrary, this resistance phenotype and class 2 integron carriage were very common among the 16 strains of biotype g identified in the following two decades. Moreover, all the more recent isolates, but one, showed closely related pulsotypes.
Although our findings refer to a limited geographic area, they provide a snapshot of integron acquisition by an enteric pathogen responsible for several outbreaks in the years 2001–2003 in Italy. Molecular typing, indeed, suggests that the emergence of biotype g class 2 integron carrying S. sonnei in southern Italy should be backdated to at least the late 1980s. In the following decades, the circulation of biotype g appears to be sustained by multiresistant highly related strains. Similar trend are described in several countries, but the questions about mechanism of emergence and worldwide spread of this pathogen remain open.
vancomycin-resistant enterococci; poultry; vanB-vanC1; letter
Phenotyping and genotyping have been carried out on 64 epidemic and sporadic isolates of Shigella sonnei identified in Italy in the years 2001 to 2003. Class 2 integron carriage has been also investigated. Isolates from four of the five outbreaks and four of six sporadic cases were biotype g, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis type B, and class 2 integron positive, suggesting emergence and spread of an epidemic clone in Italy.
The present update on the global distribution of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex spoligotypes provides both the octal and binary descriptions of the spoligotypes for M. tuberculosis complex, including Mycobacterium bovis, from >90 countries (13,008 patterns grouped into 813 shared types containing 11,708 isolates and 1,300 orphan patterns). A number of potential indices were developed to summarize the information on the biogeographical specificity of a given shared type, as well as its geographical spreading (matching code and spreading index, respectively). To facilitate the analysis of hundreds of spoligotypes each made up of a binary succession of 43 bits of information, a number of major and minor visual rules were also defined. A total of six major rules (A to F) with the precise description of the extra missing spacers (minor rules) were used to define 36 major clades (or families) of M. tuberculosis. Some major clades identified were the East African-Indian (EAI) clade, the Beijing clade, the Haarlem clade, the Latin American and Mediterranean (LAM) clade, the Central Asian (CAS) clade, a European clade of IS6110 low banders (X; highly prevalent in the United States and United Kingdom), and a widespread yet poorly defined clade (T). When the visual rules defined above were used for an automated labeling of the 813 shared types to define nine superfamilies of strains (Mycobacterium africanum, Beijing, M. bovis, EAI, CAS, T, Haarlem, X, and LAM), 96.9% of the shared types received a label, showing the potential for automated labeling of M. tuberculosis families in well-defined phylogeographical families. Intercontinental matches of shared types among eight continents and subcontinents (Africa, North America, Central America, South America, Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia, and the Far East) are analyzed and discussed.