OBJECTIVES: Numerous studies show increased prevalence of MDR bacteria amongst asylum seekers, but data on the molecular profiles of such strains are limited. We aimed to evaluate the molecular profiles of ESBL-producing Escherichia coli (ESBL-E. coli) strains isolated from asylum seekers and investigate their phylogenetic relatedness.
METHODS: WGS data of ESBL-E. coli isolates from asylum seekers, retrieved from 1 January to 31 December 2016, were analysed to assess MLST STs, fim types, phylogroups and resistance genes. Fifty-two ESBL-E. coli isolates from the Dutch-German border region were used for genome comparison purposes as a control group.
RESULTS: Among 112 ESBL-E. coli isolates from asylum seekers, originating mostly from Syria (n = 40) and Iraq (n = 15), the majority belonged to ST131 (21.4%) and ST10 (17.0%). The predominant gene for β-lactam resistance was blaCTX-M-15 (67.9%), followed by the often co-detected blaTEM-1B (39.3%). No mcr or carbapenemase genes were detected. The majority of the strains belonged to phylogroups B2 (38.4%) and A (32.1%), carrying fimH27 (25%) and fimH30 (19.6%). A core genome MLST minimum spanning tree did not reveal clusters containing strains from the asylum seekers and the control group. Five clusters were formed within the asylum seeker group, by strains isolated from people originating from different countries.
CONCLUSIONS: The most frequently isolated clones in this study were isolated on a regular basis within the Dutch population before the increase in the asylum seeker population. No mcr- or carbapenemase-producing clones were detected among the asylum seeker population. Minor clustering was observed amongst the asylum seeker strains.