BMC microbiology

Virulence and antimicrobial resistance factors of Enterococcusspp. isolated from fecal samples from piggery farms in Eastern Cape, South Africa.

PMID 26141237


Enterococci have emerged as an important opportunistic pathogen causing life-threatening infections in hospitals. The emergence of this pathogen is associated with a remarkable capacity to accumulate resistance to antimicrobials and multidrug-resistance particularly to vancomycin, erythromycin and streptomycin have become a major cause of concern for the infectious diseases community. In this paper, we report the prevalence of Enterococcus in respect to species distribution, their virulence and antibiogram profiles. Four hundred fecal samples were collected from two piggery farms in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Enterococcus species were isolated and confirmed with generic specific primers targeting the tuf gene (encoding elongation factor). The confirmed isolates were speciated with enterococci species specific primers that aimed at delineating them into six species that are commonly associated with infections in humans. Antibiotic susceptibility testing was performed by disc diffusion method. Six virulence genes and antimicrobial resistance profiles of the isolates were evaluated molecularly. Molecular identification of the presumptive isolates confirmed 320 isolates as Enterococcus spp. Attempt at speciation of the isolates with primers specific for E. faecalis, E. durans, E. casseliflavus, E. hirae and E. faecium delineated them as follows: E. faecalis (12.5 %), E. hirae (31.25 %), E. durans (18.75 %) and E. faecium (37.5 %) while E. casseliflavus was not detected. All the isolates were resistant to vancomycin, streptomycin and cloxacillin, and to at least two different classes of antibiotics, with 300 (93.8 %) isolates being resistant to five or more antibiotics. Also, three out of the six virulence genes were detected in majority of the isolates and they are Adhesion of collagen in E. faecalis (ace) (96.88 %), gelatinase (gelE) (93.13 %) and surface protein (esp) (67.8 %). There was high prevalence of multi-resistant vancomycin Enterococcus spp. (VREs) in the fecal samples of pigs in the farms studied, and this poses health implications as vancomycin is an important drug in human medicine. Further studies are needed to determine the spread of vancomycin resistance among bacteria of human origin in the communities.