We aimed to assess the prevalence of pathogenic bacteria and resistance genes in rectal samples collected among homeless persons in Marseille, France. In February 2014 we enrolled 114 sheltered homeless adults who completed questionnaires and had rectal samples collected. Eight types of enteric bacteria and 15 antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) were sought by real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) performed directly on rectal samples. ARG-positive samples were further tested by conventional PCR and sequencing. We evidenced a 17.5% prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms, a 9.6% prevalence of enteric pathogenic bacteria carriage, including Escherichia coli pathotypes (8.7%) and Tropheryma whipplei (0.9%). Only 2 persons carried blaCTX-M-15 resistance genes (1.8%), while other genes, including carbapenemase-encoding genes and colistin-resistance genes, (mcr-1 to mcr-6, mcr-8) were not detected. Our results suggest that sheltered homeless persons in Marseille do not have a high risk of harbouring gastrointestinal antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Keywords: Escherichia coli pathotypes; Tropheryma whipplei; antibiotic resistance gene; enteric bacteria; homeless; real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR).