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Reevaluate the spread and transmission of multi-resistant pathogens
The exchange of pathogens between humans, pets and wild animals has a significant impact on the spread of antibiotic resistance, according to the results of an international study involving researchers from the Free University of Berlin and the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). The researchers published their study results in the specialist journal "PLoS Genetics".
The scientists found that "a globally occurring, multi-resistant ESBL-producing E. coli variant can be transmitted on a large scale between humans, pets and wild animals," according to the RKI. This is the result of analyzes of the pathogen family tree. The exchange between the different species therefore has a significant influence on the spread of the multi-resistant pathogens.
Pedigree analysis essential for infection control
In addition to the researchers led by Alan McNally from Nottingham Trent University, Sebastian Günther and Katharina Schaufler from the Free University of Berlin as well as the President of the RKI, Lothar H. Wieler, were also involved in the study. With the help of a new bioinformatic method, the researchers were able to display the pathogen of the pathogen in a resolution that has so far been unique. Such "family tree analyzes (phylogenetic analyzes) are essential to monitor the development, spread and transmission of pathogens and antibiotic resistance and to improve the protection against infection," reports the RKI.
Pathogens circulate between people, wild animals and pets
As part of the current study, the international research team analyzed the exchange of so-called ESBL-forming E. coli bacteria between humans, pets and farm animals. For some time now, scientists have been assuming that "the pathogens - and the genes that make resistance possible in the first place - circulate between humans, animals and the environment," the RKI said. An example of this are the multi-resistant ESBL-producing E. coli bacteria, which form special bacterial enzymes (so-called Extended Spectrum Beta-Lactamases, ESBL) and thus inactivate various antibiotics.
Analysis of the core genome as well as the accessory and regulatory genome
The researchers analyzed more than 200 isolates of a specific ESBL-producing E. coli variant (sequence type 131; ST131), which came from different countries and hosts. For their investigation, they combined the detailed analysis of the nuclear genome with the analysis of the accessory and regulatory genome for the first time, reports the RKI. The genome describes the totality of all inheritable information of an organism and the core genome occurs with all representatives of one kind. In addition, there are additional genes that can vary, all of which are referred to as the accessory genome. In addition, bacteria can "control their genetic material in a targeted manner" and "the areas responsible for this are called the regulatory genome," explains the RKI.
Look at the evolution of the pathogen
The combination of the analysis of all three genome areas gave the scientists, according to their own statements, a look with unprecedented resolution into the evolution and spread of these pathogens. In principle, "molecular surveillance, the complete investigation of pathogen genomes and the analysis of the development and distribution are becoming more and more important in infection protection," the RKI said. Because multi-resistant gram-negative bacteria (MRGN) would increasingly threaten medical progress in human and veterinary medicine. A key prerequisite for molecular surveillance are powerful sequencing machines and the expertise of bioinformaticians. (fp)