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Zoonotic transfer of clostridium difficile harboring antimicrobial resistance between farm animals and humans

Knetsch, C. W., Kumar, N., Forster, S. C., Connor, Thomas ORCID:, Browne, H. P., Harmanus, C., Sanders, I. M., Harris, S. R., Turner, L., Morris, T., Perry, M., Miyajima, F., Roberts, P., Pirmohamed, M., Songer, J. G., Weese, J. S., Indra, A., Corver, J., Rupnik, M., Wren, B. W., Riley, T. V., Kuijper, E. J. and Lawley, T. D. 2018. Zoonotic transfer of clostridium difficile harboring antimicrobial resistance between farm animals and humans. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 56 (3) , e01384-17. 10.1128/JCM.01384-17

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The emergence of Clostridium difficile as a significant human diarrheal pathogen is associated with the production of highly transmissible spores and the acquisition of antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) and virulence factors. Unlike the hospital-associated C. difficile RT027 lineage, the community-associated C. difficile RT078 lineage is isolated from both humans and farm animals; however, the geographical population structure and transmission networks remain unknown. Here, we applied whole-genome phylogenetic analysis of 248 C. difficile RT078 strains from 22 countries. Our results demonstrate limited geographical clustering for C. difficile RT078 and extensive coclustering of human and animal strains, thereby revealing a highly linked intercontinental transmission network between humans and animals. Comparative whole-genome analysis reveals indistinguishable accessory genomes between human and animal strains and a variety of antimicrobial resistance genes in the pangenome of C. difficile RT078. Thus, bidirectional spread of C. difficile RT078 between farm animals and humans may represent an unappreciated route disseminating antimicrobial resistance genes between humans and animals. These results highlight the importance of the “One Health” concept to monitor infectious disease emergence and the dissemination of antimicrobial resistance genes.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
ISSN: 0095-1137
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 April 2018
Date of Acceptance: 8 December 2017
Last Modified: 04 May 2023 23:41

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