, Volume 168, Issue 10, pp 1181-1187
Date: 19 Dec 2008

Tetracycline-resistant Escherichia coli strains are inherited from parents and persist in the infant’s intestines in the absence of selective pressure

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Abstract

The study investigated tetracycline (TC), ampicillin (AMP), cefazolin (CEF), and trimethoprim (TMP) resistance in Escherichia coli (E. coli) in the feces of 21 infants up to 6 months of age and in their parents in the absence of selective antimicrobial pressure. Clonality of strains was assessed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Three infants had resistant E. coli strains in their feces identical to the mothers’ from week 1 on, which persisted over weeks. From week 2 on, in another four infants, persisting resistant E. coli were found, two of them identical to the mothers’. All of these persisting E. coli strains (except one family) showed at least resistance to TC. In infants, resistant E. coli strains inherited from their mothers tended to persist over months. Therefore, the persistence of resistant E. coli and their possible capacity to cause symptomatic infection or transfer its resistance genes to other bacteria deserves more attention.

Martina Prelog and Katharina Grif contributed equally to this work.