Characterization of cefotaxime-resistant urinary Escherichia coli from primary care in South-West England 2017-18

Jacqueline Findlay, Virginia C Gould, Paul North, Karen E Bowker, Martin Williams, Alasdair P MacGowan, Matthew B Avison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
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OBJECTIVES: Third-generation cephalosporin-resistant Escherichia coli from community-acquired urinary tract infections are increasingly reported worldwide. We sought to determine and characterize the mechanisms of cefotaxime resistance employed by urinary E. coli obtained from primary care, over 12 months, in Bristol and surrounding counties in South-West England.

METHODS: Cefalexin-resistant E. coli isolates were identified from GP-referred urine samples using disc susceptibility testing. Cefotaxime resistance was determined by subsequent plating onto MIC breakpoint plates. β-Lactamase genes were detected by PCR. WGS was performed on 225 isolates and analyses were performed using the Center for Genomic Epidemiology platform. Patient information provided by the referring general practices was reviewed.

RESULTS: Cefalexin-resistant E. coli (n = 900) isolates were obtained from urines from 146 general practices. Following deduplication by patient approximately 69% (576/836) of isolates were cefotaxime resistant. WGS of 225 isolates identified that the most common cefotaxime-resistance mechanism was blaCTX-M carriage (185/225), followed by plasmid-mediated AmpCs (pAmpCs) (17/225), AmpC hyperproduction (13/225), ESBL blaSHV variants (6/225) or a combination of both blaCTX-M and pAmpC (4/225). Forty-four STs were identified, with ST131 representing 101/225 isolates, within which clade C2 was dominant (54/101). Ciprofloxacin resistance was observed in 128/225 (56.9%) of sequenced isolates, predominantly associated with fluoroquinolone-resistant clones ST131 and ST1193.

CONCLUSIONS: Most cefalexin-resistant E. coli isolates were cefotaxime resistant, predominantly caused by blaCTX-M carriage. The correlation between cefotaxime resistance and ciprofloxacin resistance was largely attributable to the high-risk pandemic clones ST131 and ST1193. Localized epidemiological data provide greater resolution than regional data and can be valuable for informing treatment choices in the primary care setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65–71
Number of pages7
JournalThe Journal of antimicrobial chemotherapy
Issue number1
Early online date20 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • polymerase chain reaction
  • plasmids
  • cefotaxime
  • cephalexin
  • ciprofloxacin
  • urinary tract infections
  • clone cells
  • disease transmission
  • fluoroquinolones
  • genes
  • genome
  • ichthyosis
  • x-linked
  • primary health care
  • sequence tagged sites
  • urinary tract
  • escherichia coli
  • sodium thiosulfate
  • extended-spectrum beta lactamases
  • Whole genome sequencing (WGS)


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