Eighty enterococcal isolates (E. faecium, n=38, E. faecalis, n=42) from diseased farm animals (swine, cattle, poultry) in Lithuania have been studied for the prevalence of antibiotic resistance and for resistance and virulence genetic determinants. 86% of E. faecium and 71% of E. faecalis isolates were multidrug resistant (resistant to three or more unrelated antibiotics). Resistance to aminoglycosides, tetracycline and erythromycin was found most frequently in both species (61%, 69%) and was linked to aph(3’)-IIIa, aac(6’)-Ie-aph(2”)-Ia, ant(6)-Ia (aminoglycoside resistance), tetM, tetL (tetracycline resistance), ermA, ermB (erythromycin resistance) gene combinations, which were supplemented with chloramphenicol resistance genes catA7, catA8 (E. faecalis) and catA9 (E. faecium). All E. faecalis isolates harboured genes coding for virulence factors agg, esp, fsr gelE alone or in combinations with the high prevalence of esp gene in isolates from cattle (63%) and pigs (79%). The origin- dependent incidence of agg gene variants prgB and asp1 was observed. The results indicate the existence of a large pool of potentially virulent and multidrug resistant E. faecalis in diseased farm animals posing risk to humans.
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