Global molecular epidemiology of the O15:K52:H1 extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli clonal group: Evidence of distribution beyond Europe

James R. Johnson, Adam L. Stell, Timothy T. O'Bryan, Michael Kuskowski, Bogdan Nowicki, Candice Johnson, Joel N. Maslow, Anil Kaul, Justine Kavle, Guillem Prats

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Escherichia coli O15:K52:H1 is a significant extraintestinal pathogen in Europe (G. Prats et al., J. Clin. Microbiol. 38:201-209, 2000). To search for evidence of this clonal group outside of Europe, 75 non-European E. coli isolates of serogroup O15 were compared with five members of the O15:K52:H1 clonal group from Barcelona, Spain, according to genomic background, virulence genotypes, and antimicrobial resistance profiles. Amplification phylotyping showed that 16 (21%) of the 75 non-European O15 isolates corresponded with the O15:K52:H1 clonal group. The 16 non-European O15:K52:H1 clonal group members represented diverse geographic locales. They were isolated almost exclusively from humans with extraintestinal infections and accounted for 50% of all O15 isolates from five human clinical collections studied. Most non-European clonal group members exhibited a consensus virulence factor profile that included the F16 or F7-2 papA alleles (P fimbrial structural subunit), papG allele II (P fimbrial adhesin), iha (putative adhesin siderophore), and iutA (aerobactin receptor). This resembles the virulence profiles of (i) European representatives of the O15:K52:H1 clonal group and (ii) phylogenetically related "clonal group A," a recently recognized significant contributor to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole resistance in the United States (A. R. Manges et al., N. Engl. J. Med. 345:1007-1013, 2001). Antimicrobial resistance profiles were variable, and resistance was inconsistently transferred by conjugation. These findings indicate that the O15:K52:H1 clonal group is broadly distributed beyond Europe, exhibits previously unrecognized phenotypic and genotypic diversity, and contributes significantly to extraintestinal infections in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1913-1923
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 17 Jun 2002


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