Colonization of a hand washing sink in a veterinary hospital by an Enterobacter hormaechei strain carrying multiple resistances to high importance antimicrobials
Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control
Background Hospital intensive care units (ICUs) are known reservoirs of multidrug resistant nosocomial bacteria. Targeted environmental monitoring of these organisms in health care facilities can strengthen infection control procedures. A routine surveillance of extended spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) producers in a large Australian veterinary teaching hospital detected the opportunistic pathogen Enterobacter hormaechei in a hand washing sink of the ICU. The organism persisted for several
... d for several weeks, despite two disinfection attempts. Four isolates were characterized in this study. Methods Brilliance-ESBL selective plates were inoculated from environmental swabs collected throughout the hospital. Presumptive identification was done by conventional biochemistry. Genomes of multidrug resistant Enterobacter were entirely sequenced with Illumina and Nanopore platforms. Phylogenetic markers, mobile genetic elements and antimicrobial resistance genes were identified in silico. Antibiograms of isolates and transconjugants were established with Sensititre microdilution plates. Results The isolates possessed a chromosomal Tn7-associated silver/copper resistance locus and a large IncH12 conjugative plasmid encoding resistance against tellurium, arsenic, mercury and nine classes of antimicrobials. Clusters of antimicrobial resistance genes were associated with class 1 integrons and IS26, IS903 and ISCR transposable elements. The blaSHV-12, qnrB2 and mcr-9.1 genes, respectively conferring resistance to cephalosporins, quinolones and colistin, were present in a locus flanked by two IS903 copies. ESBL production and enrofloxacin resistance were confirmed phenotypically. The isolates appeared susceptible to colistin, possibly reflecting the inducible nature of mcr-9.1. Conclusions The persistence of this strain in the veterinary hospital represented a risk of further accumulation and dissemination of antimicrobial resistance, prompting a thorough disinfection of the ICU. The organism was not recovered from subsequent environmental swabs, and nosocomial Enterobacter infections were not observed in the hospital during that period. This study shows that targeted routine environmental surveillance programs to track organisms with major resistance phenotypes, coupled with disinfection procedures and follow-up microbiological cultures are useful to control these risks in sensitive areas of large veterinary hospitals.