Hexbyte Glen Cove Identifying the rise of multi drug resistant E. coli thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Identifying the rise of multi drug resistant E. coli

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Escherichia coli. Credit: Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH

Antibiotic resistance in E. coli has been steadily increasing since the early 2000s despite attempts to control it, a new study suggests. In the biggest genomic survey of E. coli to date, that took more than 16 years in Norway, researchers have successfully tracked the spread of antibiotic resistant genes and have shown that these genes are being transferred between E. coli strains.

Researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute and University of Oslo have tracked in Norway and compared this to a previous study from the UK. They found that resistant strains developed around the same time, but increased more rapidly in the UK population.

The results, published today in The Lancet Microbe show that tracking these resistant strains is important in the surveillance and control of drug resistant E. coli, which poses a significant issue in hospitals where it can cause severe infection and mortality. In addition, understanding how these genes are transferred between strains, and what has caused them to acquire can help prevent the growth of antibiotic resistance strains.

The bacterium, Escherichia coli is a common cause of bloodstream infections world-wide*, which seem to be increasing over the last decade. E. coli is commonly found in the gut, where it does not cause harm, but if it gets into the bloodstream due to a weakened immune system it can cause severe and life threatening infections. As an added challenge for health care providers, multi-drug resistance (MDR) has become a frequent feature of such infections, and in a worrying number of cases the available treatment options are becoming limited.

In the largest study of its kind, and only the second systematic longitudinal genomic study of bacteremia E. coli, researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute and the University of Oslo processed a nation-wide catalogue of samples from more than 3,200 patients to track over 16 years. By harnessing the power of large-scale DNA sequencing, they tracked the emergence of drug resistance and compared this to a similar study conducted in the UK**.

The team found that MDR started to increase and show in more strains in the early 2000s due to antibiotic pressure, and now multiple MDR E. coli strains are present in Norway. However, MDR E. coli seems to be more widely present in the UK, despite similar policies in place around antibiotic use. The UK population however is considerably larger than Norway which could explain some of the differences. Further research is needed to allow for closer comparison and to identify the exact factors that cause rapid spread in some locations compared to others.

MDR is relatively rare in bacteria. However, this new study has identified that lineages that previously were not thought to have MDR have acquired drug-resistance genes, showing the increased ability of E. coli to share MDR genes that move horizontally between strains.

Professor Jukka Corander, co-author and Associate Faculty member at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, said: “The high number of samples from the Norwegian population and the level of genomic detail on the strains of bacteria enabled us to make much more far-reaching conclusions than were ever possible before. This study demonstrates the power arising from a systematic national surveillance of resistant organisms, which both collects and makes the data available for in-depth analyses. Without these in place, it would have been impossible to approach the central research questions formulated in the study and find answers to them.”

The researchers hope to conduct similar research in the UK to build on previous studies and gain a full data set of 16 years in the UK in order to more closely track MDR resistant E. coli.

Dr. Rebecca Gladstone, lead author of the study and Bioinformatician at the University of Oslo, Norway, said: “Being able to estimate the expansion timelines of the MDR clones of E. coli and to identify multiple occasions of novel acquisition of resistance genes is particularly exciting as this is the first time that this has been possible. Understanding and tracking the movement of these drug resistance genes and the that carry them are necessary for controlling the spread of drug-resistant bacteria, which is a huge issue in healthcare.”

Professor Julian Parkhill, co-author and Professor in the Department of Veterinary Medicine at University of Cambridge, said: “Long-term studies such as this one provide in-depth understanding about the complex epidemiology underlying bloodstream infections. The next step would be further research to detail the factors determining the success of emerging pathogenic clones of these bacteria, to help find a way to control and possibly minimise the spread of multidrug resistance.”

More information:
The Lancet Microbe, www.thelancet.com/journals/lan … (21)00031-8/fulltext

*Kern WV, Rieg S. (2020) Burden of bacterial bloodstream infection – A brief update on epidemiology and significance of multidrug-resistant pathogens. Clin Microbiol Infect; 26: 151-7.

**Teemu Kallonen et al. Systematic longitudinal survey of invasiveEscherichia coliin England demonstrates a stable population structure only transiently disturbed by the emergence of ST131, Genome Research (2017). DOI: 10.1101/gr.216606.116

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Identifying Canada's key conservation hot spots highlights problem thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Identifying Canada’s key conservation hot spots highlights problem

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Bighorn Country, Alberta Eastern Slopes. Credit: Aerin Jacob

To stop biodiversity loss, Canada recently committed to protecting 30% of its land and sea by 2030. But making conservation decisions about where to locate new protected areas is complicated. It depends on data both about biodiversity and about a range of benefits (e.g. freshwater, climate regulation, recreation) that people get from nature. Surprisingly, despite the size of the country, new mapping suggests that less than 1% of Canada’s land (0.6% of total area or approximately 56,000 km2) is a hot spot, providing all these benefits in one place. Moreover, the study published today in Environmental Research Letters suggests that some of the most critical areas where people receive these key benefits from nature do not occur within currently protected areas and may be threatened by current or future natural resource extraction.

“This research is especially timely as it should help all levels of government design conservation plans that ensure that both people and nature thrive,” says Elena Bennett, from McGill University’s Bieler School of the Environment and one of the authors in a multi-institutional team that included researchers from Universities of British Columbia, McGill and Carleton and from the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y).

Identifying key areas of Canada that provide ecosystem services

The paper highlights multiple places across Canada as important for one or more ecosystem services that include providing freshwater (such as for irrigation, drinking or hydroelectricity), climate regulation (as in the case of forests and wetlands that act as carbon sinks), or for nature-based human recreation. These include the forests of British Columbia and the Hudson Bay lowlands for above- and below-ground carbon; north-central Quebec, the eastern mountains of British Columbia, the eastern slopes of the Rockies in Alberta, and the north shore of Lake Superior for freshwater; and the Rocky Mountains, eastern Ontario, and southern Quebec for nature-based recreation.

“Canada is grappling with where and how to protect nature. Just one example of how this research could be used is in western Alberta. Our research shows that the Eastern Slopes of the Rockies is one of the most important places across the whole country for its combination of freshwater, carbon storage, and recreation—not to mention important wildlife habitat—and yet the same area is at risk from open-pit coal mining and other threats,” says Dr. Aerin Jacob, co-author and scientist, at the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative.

Bighorn Country, Alberta Eastern Slopes. Credit:Aerin Jacob

A question of both supply and demand

Crucially and unusually, the mapping methods included both nature’s capacity to supply these benefits as well as the human access and demand for them.

north shore of Lake Superior. Credit: Elizabeth Gow.

“Most research that studies the benefits people get from nature only evaluates where nature has the potential to supply these benefits. For example, where rain falls. Because our work also models and maps human access and demand, we could identify where people actually receive these benefits from nature. For example, the key locations producing water that people use for drinking, farming, or hydroelectricity,” says Dr. Matthew Mitchell, lead author and Research Associate, Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability, University of British Columbia. “Governments need to know both of these things in order to take action that protects human well-being. Research like this can help society do that.”

More information:
Matthew G E Mitchell et al, Identifying key ecosystem service providing areas to inform national-scale conservation planning, Environmental Research Letters (2020). DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abc121

Identifying Canada’s key conservation hot spots highlights problem (2021, January 5)
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