Prof. Steven P. Djordjevic

Event Date: 
Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - 19:00 - 19:45
i3 institute - University of Technology Sydney

Multiple antimicrobial resistant Escherichia coli from humans and food animals – A One Health Approach


Nearly one third of the projected 10 million deaths p.a. caused by antimicrobial-resistant infections in 2050, are predicted to be caused by multi-drug resistant Escherichia coli (E. coli). E. coli pathogens are broadly defined as intestinal pathogenic E. coli (IPEC) and extra-intestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC) and outbreaks of severe disease have been caused by both. The rise of multiple antimicrobial resistance (MAR) in ExPEC is expected to pose a serious threat to human and food animal health. ExPEC represent the most frequent Gram negative pathogen in humans and cause a range of diseases including infections of the urinary tract (cystitis, prostatitis, pyelonephritis), wounds, sepsis and meningitis. ExPEC infections incur an enormous cost to health care budgets and are suspected of having a foodborne aetiology, but there are major gaps in knowledge. Only a fraction of the antibiotics that are consumed by humans and food animals are metabolised, with the remainder passing from the body and accumulating in sewage and animal waste ponds. The removal of antibiotics from human and animal waste is both challenging and costly, and the application of animal feces as fertiliser represents an underappreciated path to reintroduce these drugs into soil and aquatic environments. Clearly, there is an urgent need to better understand human, food animal and environmental resistomes. Over 500 E. coli that carry the class 1 integron integrase gene intI1, a reliable proxy for a multiple drug resistance genotype were sequenced. Our collection includes uropathogenic E.coli from humans and a combination of commensal and pathogenic E. coli from intensively reared food animals. We examined the phylogenetic relationships these E. coli share and examined the repertoire of mobile genetic elements that play an important role in mobilizing antimicrobial resistance genes. The datasets underpin a One Health approach to tackling the problem of antimicrobial resistance.