Molecular evidence of the close relatedness of clinical, gull and wastewater isolates of quinolone-resistant Escherichia coli

Ana Rita Varela, Vera Manageiro, Eugénia Ferreira, M. Augusta Guimarães, Paulo Martins da Costa, Manuela Caniça, Célia M. Manaia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Escherichia coli with reduced susceptibility to quinolones isolated from different environmental sources (urban wastewater treatment plants, n = 61; hospital effluent, n = 10; urban streams, n = 9; gulls, n = 18; birds of prey, n = 17) and from hospitalised patients (n = 28) were compared based on multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). The habitats with the most diversified genotypes of quinolone-resistant E. coli, corresponding to the highest genetic diversity (H′), were wastewater and gulls. In addition, genetically distinct populations were observed in clinical samples and birds of prey, suggesting the influence of the habitat or selective pressures on quinolone-resistant E. coli. The close genetic relatedness between isolates of clinical origin and from gulls and wastewater suggests the existence of potential routes of propagation between these sources. The most common sequence types were ST131 and ST10, with ST131 being highly specific to patients, although distributed in all of the other habitats except birds of prey. The prevalence of antimicrobial resistance was significantly higher in isolates from patients and gulls than from other sources (P < 0.01), suggesting that the effect of selective pressures met by isolates subjected to strong human impacts. The evidence presented suggests the potential circulation of bacteria between the environmental and clinical compartments, with gulls being a relevant vector of bacteria and resistance genes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-289
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Global Antimicrobial Resistance
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • Hospital
  • MLST
  • PFGE
  • Quinolone resistance
  • Wastewater
  • Wildlife


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