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Exploration of antibiotic resistance risks in a veterinary teaching hospital with Oxford Nanopore long read sequencing


Date: 30th May 2019 | Source: PLoS ONE

Authors: Kanishka Indiwari Kamathewatta, Rhys Nathan Bushell, Neil David Young, Mark Anthony Stevenson, Helen Billman-Jacobe, Glenn Francis Browning, Marc Serge Marenda.

The Oxford Nanopore MinION DNA sequencing device can produce large amounts of long sequences, typically several kilobases, within a few hours. This long read capacity was exploited to detect antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) in a large veterinary teaching hospital environment, and to assess their taxonomic origin, genetic organisation and association with mobilisation markers concurrently. Samples were collected on eight occasions between November 2016 and May 2017 (inclusive) in a longitudinal study. Nanopore sequencing was performed on total DNA extracted from the samples after a minimal enrichment step in broth. Many ARGs present in the veterinary hospital environment could potentially confer resistance to antimicrobials widely used in treating infections of companion animals, including aminoglycosides, extended-spectrum beta-lactams, sulphonamides, macrolides, and tetracyclines. High-risk ARGs, defined here as single or multiple ARGs associated with pathogenic bacterial species or with mobile genetic elements, were shared between the intensive care unit (ICU) patient cages, a dedicated laundry trolley and a floor cleaning mop-bucket. By contrast, a floor surface from an office corridor without animal contact and located outside the veterinary hospital did not contain such high-risk ARGs. Relative abundances of high-risk ARGs and co-localisation of these genes on the same sequence read were higher in the laundry trolley and mop bucket samples, compared to the ICU cages, suggesting that amplification of ARGs is likely to occur in the collection points for hospital waste. These findings have prompted the implementation of targeted intervention measures in the veterinary hospital to mitigate the risks of transferring clinically important ARGs between sites and to improve biosecurity practices in the facility.

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