Similar Cefoxitin-Resistance Plasmids Circulating in Escherichia Coli From Human and Animal Sources

Vet Microbiol. 2009 Mar 2;134(3-4):279-87. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2008.08.018. Epub 2008 Aug 23.


The aim of this study was to determine the molecular epidemiology of cefoxitin-resistance Escherichia coli identified in cattle entering feedlots and determine if there were any similarities to E. coli causing human infections in Canadian hospitals. A total of 51 E. coli were isolated from a total of 2483 cattle entering four feedlots in southern Alberta, Canada. DNA fingerprinting using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis revealed thirty-two unique patterns with two major clusters observed comprised of Cluster A (11 strains) and Cluster B (7 strains). PCR and sequence analysis revealed 38 isolates (74.5%) harboured bla(CMY-2), whereas the remainder were found to contain mutations in the promoter region of the chromosomal ampC gene, which has been previously associated with cefoxitin resistance. No resistance to nalidixic acid, ciprofloxacin, or amikacin was observed in the clinical isolates. bla(CMY-2) harbouring plasmids were transferred to E. coli DH10B. All of the plasmids carrying bla(CMY-2) contained the A/C replicon and also harboured other resistance genes. Plasmid fingerprinting using BglII revealed 17 unique patterns with all but one clustering within 70% similarity. Comparison of the plasmid fingerprints to those isolated from human clinically significant E. coli in Canada during a similar time period [Mulvey, M.R., Bryce, E., Boyd, D.A., Ofner-Agostini, M., Land, A.M., Simor, A.E, Paton, S., 2005. The Canadian Hospital Epidemiology Committee, and The Canadian Nosocomial Infection Surveillance Program, Health Canada. Molecular characterization of cefoxitin resistant Escherichia coli from Canadian hospitals. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 49, 358-365] revealed four strains that harboured bla(CMY-2) A/C replicon type plasmid with fingerprint similarities of greater than 90% to the ones identified in E. coli from the cattle in this study. These findings highlight the potential linkage of multidrug resistant organisms in food producing animals and human infections in Canadian hospitals. The plasmids conferred resistance to multiple antibiotics which could limit options for the treatment of infections caused by these strains.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cattle
  • Cefoxitin / pharmacology*
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / microbiology
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli Infections / epidemiology
  • Escherichia coli Infections / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Epidemiology
  • Phylogeny
  • Plasmids / genetics*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Cefoxitin