Y. enterocolitica biotype (BT) 1A strains are often isolated from human clinical samples but their contribution to disease has remained a controversial topic. Variation and the population structure among the clinical Y. enterocolitica BT 1A isolates have been poorly characterized. We used multi-locus sequence typing (MLST), 16S rRNA gene sequencing, PCR for ystA and ystB, lipopolysaccharide analysis, phage typing, human serum complement killing assay and analysis of the symptoms of the patients to characterize 298 clinical Y. enterocolitica BT 1A isolates in order to evaluate their relatedness and pathogenic potential.
A subset of 71 BT 1A strains, selected based on their varying LPS patterns, were subjected to detailed genetic analyses. The MLST on seven house-keeping genes (adk, argA, aroA, glnA, gyrB, thrA, trpE) conducted on 43 of the strains discriminated them into 39 MLST-types. By Bayesian analysis of the population structure (BAPS) the strains clustered conclusively into two distinct lineages, i.e. Genetic groups 1 and 2. The strains of Genetic group 1 were more closely related (97% similarity) to the pathogenic bio/serotype 4/O:3 strains than Genetic group 2 strains (95% similarity). Further comparison of the 16S rRNA genes of the BT 1A strains indicated that altogether 17 of the 71 strains belong to Genetic group 2. On the 16S rRNA analysis, these 17 strains were only 98% similar to the previously identified subspecies of Y. enterocolitica. The strains of Genetic group 2 were uniform in their pathogenecity-related properties: they lacked the ystB gene, belonged to the same LPS subtype or were of rough type, were all resistant to the five tested yersiniophages, were largely resistant to serum complement and did not ferment fucose. The 54 strains in Genetic group 1 showed much more variation in these properties. The most commonly detected LPS types were similar to the LPS types of reference strains with serotypes O:6,30 and O:6,31 (37%), O:7,8 (19%) and O:5 (15%).
The results of the present study strengthen the assertion that strains classified as Y. enterocolitica BT 1A represent more than one subspecies. Especially the BT 1A strains in our Genetic group 2 commonly showed resistance to human serum complement killing, which may indicate pathogenic potential for these strains. However, their virulence mechanisms remain unknown.
Yersinia enterocolitica biotype 1A; MLST; 16S rRNA gene; yst genes; LPS; Phage typing; Human serum complement killing; Bayesian analysis of population structure; Pathogenicity
We investigated the prevalence of the virulence genes specific for five major pathogroups of diarrheagenic Escherichia coli (DEC) in primary cultures from feces of animals slaughtered for human consumption in Burkina Faso. For the study, 704 feces samples were collected from cattle (n = 304), chickens (n = 350), and pigs (n = 50) during carcass processing. The presence of the virulence-associated genes in the mixed bacterial cultures was assessed using 16-plex polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Virulence genes indicating presence of DEC were detected in 48% of the cattle, 48% of the chicken, and 68% of the pig feces samples. Virulence genes specific for different DECs were detected in the following percentages of the cattle, chicken, and pig feces samples: Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) in 37%, 6%, and 30%; enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) in 8%, 37%, and 32%; enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) in 4%, 5%, and 18%; and enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC) in 7%, 6%, and 32%. Enteroinvasive E. coli (EIEC) virulence genes were detected in 1% of chicken feces samples only. The study was the first of its kind in Burkina Faso and revealed the common occurrence of the diarrheal virulence genes in feces of food animals. This indicates that food animals are reservoirs of DEC that may contaminate meat because of the defective slaughter and storage conditions and pose a health risk to the consumers in Burkina Faso.
Cattle; chickens; diarrheagenic Escherichia coli; multiplex PCR; pigs; virulence genes
The agar dilution method has been standardized by the CLSI for the susceptibility testing of Campylobacter species, and according to these standards, the disk diffusion method should be used only in screening for macrolide and ciprofloxacin resistance. Nevertheless, the disk diffusion test is currently widely used, since it is easy to perform in clinical microbiology laboratories. In this study, the disk diffusion method was compared to the agar dilution method by analyzing the in vitro activities of seven antimicrobial agents against 174 Campylobacter strains collected in Finland between 2003 and 2008. Recommendations of the CLSI were followed using Mueller-Hinton agar plates with 5% of sheep blood. For each strain, the disk diffusion tests were performed two to four times. Of the 33 erythromycin-resistant strains (MIC, ≥16 μg/ml), 24 (73%) constantly showed a 6-mm erythromycin inhibition zone (i.e., no inhibition), while for seven strains the inhibition zone varied from 6 to 44 mm in repeated measurements. Among the 141 erythromycin-susceptible strains (MIC, <16 μg/ml), erythromycin inhibition zones varied between 6 and 61 mm. Of the 87 ciprofloxacin-resistant strains, 47 (54%) showed 6-mm inhibition zones, while 40 strains showed inhibition zones between 6 and 60 mm. Significant differences between the repetitions were observed in the disk diffusion for all antimicrobial agents and all strains except for the macrolide-resistant strains regarding the macrolides. For 17 (10%) strains, the variation in repeated measurements was substantial. These results show that the disk diffusion method may not be a reliable tool for the susceptibility testing of Campylobacter spp. Further studies are needed to assess whether the disk diffusion test could be improved or whether all susceptibilities of campylobacters should be tested using an MIC-based method.
The aim of this study was to examine macrolide resistance mutations in Campylobacter species. In 76 strains studied, point mutation A to G at position 2059 of the 23S rRNA gene was detected in 30 of the 33 erythromycin-resistant strains. An amino acid insertion in the ribosomal protein L22 was found in one resistant strain without a 23S rRNA mutation. The A2059G mutation is the main cause of macrolide resistance in Campylobacter species.
STEC carrying stx1c and hlyA genes can invade the human bloodstream.
Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC) is a pathogen that causes gastroenteritis and bloody diarrhea but can lead to severe disease, such as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). STEC serotype O78:H– is rare among humans, and infections are often asymptomatic. We detected a sorbitol-fermenting STEC O78:H–stx1c:hlyA in blood and fecal samples of a 2-week-old boy who had bacteremia and HUS and in fecal samples of his asymptomatic family members. The phenotypic and genotypic characteristics and the virulence properties of this invasive STEC were investigated. Our findings demonstrate that contrary to earlier suggestions, STEC under certain conditions can invade the human bloodstream. Moreover, this study highlights the need to implement appropriate diagnostic methods for identifying the whole spectrum of STEC strains associated with HUS.
Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS); cross-contamination; invasive Shiga toxin–producing E. coli; STEC; stx1c; bacteremia; bacteria; zoonoses
Verotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC) is the cause of severe gastrointestinal infection especially among infants. Between 10 and 20 cases are reported annually to the National Infectious Disease Register (NIDR) in Finland. The aim of this study was to identify explanatory variables for VTEC infections reported to the NIDR in Finland between 1997 and 2006. We applied a hurdle model, applicable for a dataset with an excess of zeros.
We enrolled 131 domestically acquired primary cases of VTEC between 1997 and 2006 from routine surveillance data. The isolated strains were characterized by virulence type, serogroup, phage type and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. By applying a two-part Bayesian hurdle model to infectious disease surveillance data, we were able to create a model in which the covariates were associated with the probability for occurrence of the cases in the logistic regression part and the magnitude of covariate changes in the Poisson regression part if cases do occur. The model also included spatial correlations between neighbouring municipalities.
The average annual incidence rate was 4.8 cases per million inhabitants based on the cases as reported to the NIDR. Of the 131 cases, 74 VTEC O157 and 58 non-O157 strains were isolated (one person had dual infections). The number of bulls per human population and the proportion of the population with a higher education were associated with an increased occurrence and incidence of human VTEC infections in 70 (17%) of 416 of Finnish municipalities. In addition, the proportion of fresh water per area, the proportion of cultivated land per area and the proportion of low income households with children were associated with increased incidence of VTEC infections.
With hurdle models we were able to distinguish between risk factors for the occurrence of the disease and the incidence of the disease for data characterised by an excess of zeros. The density of bulls and the proportion of the population with higher education were significant both for occurrence and incidence, while the proportion of fresh water, cultivated land, and the proportion of low income households with children were significant for the incidence of the disease.
We assessed the potential of multilocus variable-number tandem-repeat analysis (MLVA), pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), and antimicrobial susceptibility testing for discriminating 104 sporadic and outbreak-related Yersinia enterocolitica (YE) bio/serotype 3-4/O:3 and 2/O:9 isolates. MLVA using six VNTR markers was performed in two separate multiplex PCRs, and the fluorescently labeled PCR products were accurately sized on an automated DNA sequencer.
MLVA discriminated 82 sporadic YE 3-4/O:3 and 2/O:9 strains into 77 types, whereas PFGE with the restriction enzyme NotI discriminated the strains into 23 different PFGE pulsotypes. The discriminatory index for a sporadic strain was 0.862 for PFGE and 0.999 for MLVA. MLVA confirmed that a foodborne outbreak in the city of Kotka, Finland in 2003 had been caused by a multiresistant YE 4/O:3 strain that was distinctly different from those of epidemiologically unrelated strains with an identical PFGE pulsotype. The multiresistance of Y. enterocolitica strains (19% of the sporadic strains) correlated significantly (p = 0.002) with travel abroad. All of the multiresistant Y. enterocolitica strains belonged to four PFGE pulsotypes that did not contain any susceptible strains. Resistance to nalidixic acid was related to changes in codons 83 or 87 that stemmed from mutations in the gyrA gene. The conjugation experiments demonstrated that resistance to CHL, STR, and SUL was carried by a conjugative plasmid.
MLVA using six loci had better discriminatory power than PFGE with the NotI enzyme. MLVA was also a less labor-intensive method than PFGE and the results were easier to analyze. The conjugation experiments demonstrated that a resistance plasmid can easily be transferred between Y. enterocolitica strains. Antimicrobial multiresistance of Y. enterocolitica strains was significantly associated with travel abroad.
The in vitro activity of azithromycin against 1,237 nontyphoidal Salmonella enterica isolates collected from Finnish patients between 2003 and 2008 was investigated. Only 24 (1.9%) of the isolates tested and 15 (5.1%) of the 294 isolates with reduced fluoroquinolone susceptibility had azithromycin MICs of ≥32 μg/ml. These data show that azithromycin has good in vitro activity against nontyphoidal S. enterica, and thus, it may be a good candidate for clinical treatment studies of salmonellosis.
There is a paucity of information regarding antimicrobial agents that are suitable to treat severe infections caused by multidrug-resistant Campylobacter spp. Our aim was to identify agents that are potentially effective against multiresistant Campylobacter strains. The in vitro activities of 20 antimicrobial agents against 238 Campylobacter strains were analyzed by determining MICs by the agar plate dilution method or the Etest. These strains were selected from 1,808 Campylobacter isolates collected from Finnish patients between 2003 and 2005 and screened for macrolide susceptibility by using the disk diffusion test. The 238 strains consisted of 183 strains with erythromycin inhibition zone diameters of ≤23 mm and 55 strains with inhibition zone diameters of >23 mm. Of the 238 Campylobacter strains, 19 were resistant to erythromycin by MIC determinations (MIC ≥ 16 μg/ml). Given that the resistant strains were identified among the collection of 1,808 isolates, the frequency of erythromycin resistance was 1.1%. All erythromycin-resistant strains were multidrug resistant, with 18 (94.7%) of them being resistant to ciprofloxacin (MIC ≥ 4 μg/ml). The percentages of resistance to tetracycline and amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (co-amoxiclav) were 73.7% and 31.6%, respectively. All macrolide-resistant strains were susceptible to imipenem, meropenem, and tigecycline. Ten (52.6%) multiresistant strains were identified as being Campylobacter jejuni strains, and 9 (47.4%) were identified as being C. coli strains. These data demonstrate that the incidence of macrolide resistance was low but that the macrolide-resistant Campylobacter strains were uniformly multidrug resistant. In addition to the carbapenems, tigecycline was also highly effective against these multidrug-resistant Campylobacter strains in vitro. Its efficacy for the treatment of human campylobacteriosis should be evaluated in clinical trials.
Yersinia enterocolitica (YE) is the causative agent of yersiniosis. YE encompass strains of diverse pathogenicity: YE biotypes 1B and 2-5 are considered pathogenic, whereas biotype 1A is in general considered nonvirulent. Also YE-like species, which can sometimes be misidentified as YE, are considered nonvirulent.
In order to study differences in clinical picture caused by different YE types and their possible sources a case-control study was conducted in 2006. In this case-control study, 295 case-patients with YE or YE-like finding and their 758 controls responded to the questionnaire about symptoms and possible sources of infection.
Strains of pathogenic YE bio/serotypes 3-4/O:3 or 2/O:9 were found in 18%, YE biotype 1A in 65% and YE -like strains of 17% of the patients. Patients infected with the strains of pathogenic YE bio/serotypes were younger and had fever more often than those with BT 1A who suffered more from vomiting. Symptoms of reactive arthritis were reported by 10% of pathogenic YE infections, 3% of YE BT 1A, and 0.3% of the controls. Eating or tasting raw or medium done pork was a significant risk factor for pathogenic YE bio/serotype infection (OR 6.6; 95% CI 1.7-24.9) as well as eating in a canteen (OR 3.5; 95% CI 1.6-7.9). Imported fruits and berries were associated with increased risk of YE BT 1A finding.
The symptoms of the patients with YE BT 1A differed from yersiniosis caused by the classic pathogenic YE bio/serotypes. In addition, the patients with YE BT 1A had more protracted gastrointestinal disorders and unspecific complaints. Small children were overrepresented in classic pathogenic bio/serotypes while in BT 1A or YE-like species were not found among children younger than two years. This suggests the lacking virulence of the BT 1A strains. We can not, however, rule out the possibility that some strains of genetically heterogeneous group of BT 1A may cause an illness.
Nontyphoidal Salmonella enterica strains with a nonclassical quinolone resistance phenotype were isolated from patients returning from Thailand or Malaysia to Finland. A total of 10 isolates of seven serovars were studied in detail, all of which had reduced susceptibility (MIC ≥ 0.125 μg/ml) to ciprofloxacin but were either susceptible or showed only low-level resistance (MIC ≤ 32 μg/ml) to nalidixic acid. Phenotypic characterization included susceptibility testing by the agar dilution method and investigation of efflux activity. Genotypic characterization included the screening of mutations in the quinolone resistance-determining regions (QRDR) of gyrA, gyrB, parC, and parE by PCR and denaturing high-pressure liquid chromatography and the amplification of plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance (PMQR) genes qnrA, qnrB, qnrS, qnrD, aac(6′)-Ib-cr, and qepA by PCR. PMQR was confirmed by plasmid analysis, Southern hybridization, and plasmid transfer. No mutations in the QRDRs of gyrA, gyrB, parC, or parE were detected with the exception of a Thr57-Ser substitution within ParC seen in all but the S. enterica serovar Typhimurium strains. The qnrA and qnrS genes were the only PMQR determinants detected. Plasmids carrying qnr alleles were transferable in vitro, and the resistance phenotype was reproducible in Escherichia coli DH5α transformants. These data demonstrate the emergence of a highly mobile qnr genotype that, in the absence of mutation within topoisomerase genes, confers the nontypical quinolone resistance phenotype in S. enterica isolates. The qnr resistance mechanism enables bacteria to survive elevated quinolone concentrations, and therefore, strains carrying qnr alleles may be able to expand during fluoroquinolone treatment. This is of concern since nonclassical quinolone resistance is plasmid mediated and therefore mobilizable.
A substantial sampling among domestic human campylobacter cases, chicken process lots, and cattle at slaughter was performed during the seasonal peak of human infections. Campylobacter jejuni isolates (n = 419) were subtyped using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis with SmaI, and isolates representing overlapping types (n = 212) were further subtyped using KpnI for restriction. The SmaI/KpnI profiles of 55.4% (97/175) of the human isolates were indistinguishable from those of the chicken or cattle isolates. The overlapping SmaI/KpnI subtypes accounted for 69.8% (30/43) and 15.9% (32/201) of the chicken and cattle isolates, respectively. The occurrence of identical SmaI/KpnI subtypes with human C. jejuni isolates was significantly associated with animal host species (P < 0.001). A temporal association of isolates from chickens and patients was possible in 31.4% (55/175) of the human infections. Besides chickens as sources of C. jejuni in the sporadic infections, the role of cattle appears notable. New approaches to restrict the occurrence of campylobacters in other farm animals may be needed in addition to hygienic measures in chicken production. However, only about half of the human infections were attributable to these sources.
We tested the fluoroquinolone susceptibility of 499 Salmonella enterica isolates collected from travelers returning to Finland during 2003–2007. Among isolates from travelers to Thailand and Malaysia, reduced fluoroquinolone susceptibility decreased from 65% to 22% (p = 0.002). All isolates showing nonclassical quinolone resistance were from travelers to these 2 countries.
Antimicrobial resistance; enteric infections; nonclonal; reduced susceptibility; Salmonella enterica; serovar; travelers’ diarrhea; Finland; dispatch
Yersinia pseudotuberculosis; yersiniosis; foodborne outbreak; Finland; vegetable; carrots; reservoir; shrew; letter
Severe diarrheal infections caused by Shigatoxigenic Escherichia coli O103:H2:stx1:eae-ɛ:ehx, O145:H28:stx1:eae-γ:ehx (two cases in a family), and O174:H21:stx2c in farm residents were traced to cattle. Molecular methods were applied to the isolation and characterization of the strains. The causative strains were also isolated from cattle samples 1 or 4 months later.
Molecular characterization and subtyping show genetic diversities within clonal complexes.
Escherichia coli O157:H7 variants were examined for trait mutations and by molecular subtyping to better define clonal complexes postulated on the O157:H7 evolution model. Strains of β-glucuronidase–positive, sorbitol-negative O157:H7 isolated in United States and Japan were identical to A5 clonal strain and shared sequence type (ST)–65 by multilocus sequence typing (MLST); thus, they belong in A5. However, these strains exhibited pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) profile differences that suggested genomic divergence between populations. Sorbitol-fermenting O157 (SFO157) strains from Finland, Scotland, and Germany were identical to A4 clonal strain and belong in A4. Some SFO157 strains, isolated years apart and from different countries, had identical PFGE profiles, suggesting a common origin. Despite similarities, some Finnish and Scottish and all of the German strains have ST-75 (“German clone”), whereas others have ST-76, a new variant (“Scottish clone”). MLST of strains in other clonal complexes also discriminated strains thought to be identical and showed that genetic differences will further distinguish clonal populations into subclones.
Enterohemorrhagic E. coli O157:H7; clonal complexes; genetic diversity; molecular evolution; research
Many clinical laboratories are familiar with a sizeable group of “unserotypeable Yersinia enterocolitica” strains. Due to identification problems, this group may hide Y. bercovieri, Y. mollaretii, and Y. rohdei strains. We present a simple scheme to distinguish between pathogenic Y. enterocolitica and potentially nonpathogenic Y. enterocolitica-like strains.
We describe the emergence of a new quinolone resistance pattern in Salmonella enterica isolates from Southeast Asia. These isolates are susceptible to nalidixic acid but exhibit reduced susceptibility to ciprofloxacin. The increase of such strains may threaten the value of the nalidixic acid disk test to screen for reduced fluoroquinolone susceptibility in salmonellas.
The number of Salmonella strains with reduced susceptibility to fluoroquinolones has increased during recent years in many countries, threatening the value of this antimicrobial group in the treatment of severe salmonella infections.
We analyzed the in vitro activities of ciprofloxacin and 10 additional fluoroquinolones against 816 Salmonella strains collected from Finnish patients between 1995 and 2003. Special attention was focused on the efficacy of newer fluoroquinolones against the Salmonella strains with reduced ciprofloxacin susceptibility.
The isolates represented 119 different serotypes. Of all 816 Salmonella strains, 3 (0.4%) were resistant to ciprofloxacin (MIC ≥ 4 μg/ml), 232 (28.4%) showed reduced susceptibility to ciprofloxacin (MIC ≥ 0.125 – 2 μg/ml), and 581 (71.2%) were ciprofloxacin-susceptible. The MIC50 and MIC90 values of ciprofloxacin for these strains were 0.032 and 0.25 μg/ml, respectively, being lower than those of the other fluoroquinolone compounds presently on market in Finland (ofloxacin, norfloxacin, levofloxacin, and moxifloxacin). For two newer quinolones, clinafloxacin and sitafloxacin, the MIC50 and MIC90 values were lowest, both 0.016 and 0.064 μg/ml, respectively. Moreover, clinafloxacin and sitafloxacin exhibited the lowest MIC50 and MIC90 values, 0.064 and 0.125 μg/ml, against the 235 Salmonella strains with reduced susceptibility and strains fully resistant to ciprofloxacin.
Among the registered fluoroquinolones in Finland, ciprofloxacin still appears to be the most effective drug for the treatment salmonella infections. Among the newer preparations, both clinafloxacin and sitafloxacin are promising based on in vitro studies, especially for strains showing reduced ciprofloxacin susceptibility. Their efficacy, however, has not been demonstrated in clinical investigations.
Campylobacter jejuni has become the most common bacterial cause of human gastroenteritis worldwide. Rapid, discriminatory typing methods are required to identify potential clusters of infections. The major disadvantage of the well-evaluated and widely used Penner heat-stable serotyping method is the high level of nontypeability. The correlation of the types determined by the Penner heat-stable serotyping method and PCR-based restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis of the lipooligosaccharide (LOS) biosynthesis genes of C. jejuni was studied with 149 C. jejuni strains. Of these strains, 79 were patient strains belonging to 25 Penner serotypes, 60 were nontypeable patient strains, and 10 were reference strains. A 9.6-kb DNA fragment of the LOS gene cluster was amplified and digested with the restriction enzymes HhaI and DdeI. Altogether, 39 different RFLP types (including 30 HhaI profiles and 32 DdeI profiles) were identified. Type Hh1Dd1 was the most common type, with 36% of the strains and strains of 12 serotypes being of this type. A high level of discrimination was obtained, and a correlation between the Penner serotypes and the PCR-RFLP types could be seen. Also, variation in the LOS biosynthesis genes within a single Penner serotype was found. Although the PCR-RFLP method may not be sufficient to compensate for Penner serotyping, it can give valuable information about nontypeable strains and further characterize strains of common serotypes.
This report describes a large international chocolate-associated Salmonella outbreak originating from Germany.
We conducted epidemiologic investigations including a case-control study, and food safety investigations. Salmonella (S.) Oranienburg isolates were subtyped by the use of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE).
From 1 October 2001 through 24 March 2002, an estimated excess of 439 S. Oranienburg notifications was registered in Germany. Simultaneously, an increase in S. Oranienburg infections was noted in other European countries in the Enter-net surveillance network. In a multistate matched case-control study in Germany, daily consumption of chocolate (matched odds ratio [MOR]: 4.8; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.3–26.5), having shopped at a large chain of discount grocery stores (MOR: 4.2; CI: 1.2–23.0), and consumption of chocolate purchased there (MOR: 5.0; CI: 1.1–47.0) were associated with illness. Subsequently, two brands from the same company, one exclusively produced for that chain, tested positive for S. Oranienburg. In two other European countries and in Canada chocolate from company A was ascertained that also contained S. Oranienburg. Isolates from humans and from chocolates had indistinguishable PFGE profiles. No source or point of contamination was identified. Epidemiological identification of chocolate as a vehicle of infections required two months, and was facilitated by proxy measures.
Despite the use of improved production technologies, the chocolate industry continues to carry a small risk of manufacturing Salmonella-containing products. Particularly in diffuse outbreak-settings, clear associations with surrogates of exposure should suffice to trigger public health action. Networks such as Enter-net have become invaluable for facilitating rapid and appropriate management of international outbreaks.
Campylobacter jejuni isolates (n = 533) from domestic cases diagnosed in Finland during a 3-month peak period were studied. The highest rate was observed among those 70–74 years of age. Domestic C. jejuni isolates were especially frequent in the eastern districts. Six serotypes covered 61% of all C. jejuni isolates.
Campylobacter; Campylobacter jejuni; Gastroenteritis; Serotype; Finland
Listeria monocytogenes strains that were isolated from 314 human listeriosis cases in Finland during an 11-year period were analyzed by O:H serotyping and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Serotyping divided the isolates into five serotypes, the most common being 1/2a (53%) and 4b (27%). During the study period, the number of cases caused by serotype 1/2a increased from 22% in 1990 to 67% in 2001, and those caused by serotype 4b decreased from 61 to 27%, respectively. PFGE with restriction enzyme AscI divided the strains into 81 PFGE genotypes; among strains of serotypes 1/2a and 4b, 49 and 18 PFGE types were seen, respectively. PFGE type 1 (serotype 1/2a) was the most prevalent single type (37 strains). Together with six other, closely related PFGE types, PFGE type 1 formed a group of 71 strains, representing 23% of all 314 strains. Strains of PFGE type 1 have also been isolated from cold smoked fish, suggesting a source of human infections caused by this type. Moreover, PFGE type 24 (serotype 1/2c) was significantly associated with gender: 5% of 180 male subjects but none of 132 female subjects (P = 0.012). An electronic database library was created from the PFGE profiles to make possible the prompt detection of new emerging profiles and the tracing of potential infection clusters in the future.
Among Escherichia coli strains of the O55:H7 serovar, which is considered the ancestor of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) O157:H7, two subtypes, H7a,7b and H7a,7c (briefly, H7a,b and H7a,c, respectively), of the H7 flagellar antigen have been described previously [J. Wright and R. Villanueva, J. Hyg. (Camb.) 51:39-48, 1953; Y. A. Ratiner and V. A. Sinelnikova, Zh. Microbiol. Epidemiol. Immunobiol. 3:111-116, 1969). We have now studied 13 STEC O157:H7 strains and 1 O55:H7 strain that were epidemiologically unrelated, that originated from six countries on two continents, and that had different profiles when analyzed by multilocus enzyme electrophoresis, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, and PCR for stx and eae. They were all found to possess the H7a,c flagellar antigen. Serum cross-absorption assays confirmed that their H antigens were indistinguishable from each other and from that of E. coli O55:H7a,c but differed from the standard H7a,b antigen of E. coli H test strain U5/41. It was shown by phage-mediated transduction that the flagellin genes for these two H-antigen subserotypes were alleles of the E. coli fliC locus. On the basis of the serological data obtained in this study and the molecular characteristics of E. coli fliCH7 alleles recently published, it is inferred that H7a,c and H7a,b are the main serological subtypes of the group of E. coli H7 flagellins.
Ciprofloxacin resistance was analyzed in 354 Campylobacter jejuni isolates collected during two study periods (1995–1997 and 1998–2000) from travelers returning to Finland. The increase in resistance between the two periods was significant among all isolates (40% vs. 60%; p<0.01), as well as among those from Asia alone (45% vs. 72%; p<0.01).
Campylobacter jejuni; quinolone; fluoroquinolone; ciprofloxacin; antibiotic,antimicrobial; drug resistance; microbial; traveler