Research – Increased prevalence of Escherichia coli strains from food carrying blaNDM and mcr-1-bearing plasmids that structurally resemble those of clinical strains, China, 2015 to 2017


Antimicrobial resistance poses an increasing risk to human and animal health worldwide. In particular, carbapenem resistance mediated by serine β-lactamases and metallo-β-lactamases (MBLs), such as the OXA enzymes produced by  and  carbapenemase (KPC-1) and New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase (NDM-1) produced by Enterobacteriaceae, is associated with a high mortality rate among hospitalised patients [1,2]. NDM-1, a type of Ambler class B metallo-β-lactamases (MBLs), exhibits high hydrolytic activity against almost all known β-lactam antimicrobials (except aztreonam), including the last-line carbapenems [3,4]. It was first found to be produced by  and  strains isolated from a Swedish patient of Indian origin who was admitted to hospital in New Delhi, India [5]. Thereafter, the   gene disseminated in various countries and regions such as China, the Middle East, South East Asia and Europe [4]. This multidrug resistance gene, which may be located on either plasmids or chromosome [3,6,7], leaves few therapeutic options for infected patients. In China, Ho et al. reported the first isolation of  -positive  from a 1-year-old infant and its mother in 2011 [8]. NDM-1-producing Enterobacteriaceae have since disseminated to various provinces in China, with the majority of such strains isolated from stool samples [9]. However, reports of isolation of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) from food samples remain scarce around the world.

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