Identifying the Sources of Intestinal Colonization With Extended-Spectrum β-Lactamase-Producing Escherichia coli in Healthy Infants in the Community

Authors: Mohammed Badrul Amin, Kazi Injamamul Hoque, Subarna Roy, Sumita Rani Saha,
Md. Rayhanul Islam, Timothy R. Julian and Mohammad Aminul Islam

The prevalence of fecal colonization with extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing Escherichia coli (ESBL-Ec) among children in low- and middle-income countries is alarmingly high. This study aimed to identify the sources of ESBL-Ec colonization in children < 1 year old through comparative analysis of E. coli isolates from child stool, child’s mother stool, and point-of-use drinking water from 46 rural households in Bangladesh. The pairwise similarity in antibiotic susceptibility of E. coli from all three sources was evaluated, followed by phylogenetic clustering using enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus polymerase chain reaction and whole-genome sequence analysis of the isolates. Matching antibiotic susceptibility and enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus polymerase chain reaction patterns were found among ESBL-Ec isolates from child–mother dyads of 24 and 11 households, respectively, from child–water dyads of 5 and 4 households, respectively, and from child mother–water triads of 3 and 4 households, respectively. Whole-genome sequence analysis of 30 isolates from 10 households revealed that ESBL-Ec from children in five households (50%) was clonally related to ESBL-Ec either from their mothers (2 households), drinking water sources (2 households), or both mother and drinking water sources (1 household) based on serotype, phylogroup, sequence type, antibiotic resistance genes, mobile genetic elements, core single-nucleotide polymorphisms, and whole-genome multilocus sequence typing. Overall, this study provides empirical evidence that ESBL-Ec colonization in children is linked to the colonization status of mothers and exposure to the household environments contaminated with ESBL-Ec. Interventions such as improved hygiene practices and a safe drinking water supply may help reduce the transmission of ESBL-Ec at the household level.

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