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The Role of Commensal Microflora in the Transmission of Extended-Spectrum Beta-Lactamases (ESBLs)


<ul><li>Build a communal strain collection of ESBL-positive E. coli (commensal and clinical isolates) from human, animal and food sources. The data will be used to populate an Excel database according to predetermined criteria.</li>
<li>Carryout genotyping and phylogenetic grouping of E.coli and salmonella isolates from human and animal sources. The data will populate the above communal Excel database with genotypic and phylogenetic grouping data for subsequent analysis.</li></ul>

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<p>Background: Extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs) are enzymes that can be produced by bacteria. The enzymes make the bacteria resistant to the beta-lactam class of antibiotics known as cephalosporins, which are widely used in hospitals. ESBL genes are frequently plasmid encoded, making them more easily transferable to the bacterial chromosome, other plasmids and other bacteria. The Agency is considering the possibility that ESBL resistant bacteria could be transmitted to foodborne pathogens, via the food chain to humans. If this was to occur these infections would be difficult to treat.</p>

<p>This study investigates the zoonotic aspects of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) positive commensal E. coli strains and their mobile genetic elements in food-producing animals, and animal products as a source for introduction of these enzymes into food-borne pathogens, commensals and pathogens in the community and healthcare settings in Europe. Studying the epidemiology and molecular biology of E. coli harbouring ESBLs will promote our understanding about the contribution of commensal organisms in these reservoirs to the disease burden of ESBL-producing E. coli causing serious infections in the human population. </p>

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