Background: Enterococcus spp. is an important nosocomial and community-acquired pathogen. Recent studies have documented the increasing importance of this pathogen in children, particularly in the hospital setting. Our objective in this study was to report the frequency of antimicrobial resistance in enterococci and to determine the characteristics of high-level gentamicin resistance (HLGR) plasmids in Enterococcus faecalis clinical isolates. Methods: Two hundred eighty-nine enterococcal isolates were collected during an 18-month period from a tertiary-care pediatric hospital in Mexico City. Isolates were screened for antibiotic resistance, including HLGR. High-level, gentamicin-resistant E. faecalis strains were selected for pulsed-field electrophoresis (PFGE) typing and plasmid analysis. Transferability of resistance markers was carried out using filter matings. Results: Seventy-six percent of isolates were E. faecalis, 10% were E. avium, 5.2% E. faecium, 5.2% E. raffinossus, 1.38% E. malodoratus, 0.6% E. hirae, and 0.6% E. casseliflavus. Antimicrobial resistance was ampicillin and penicillin 29%, imipenem 17%, and vancomycin 3%, HLGR 5%. The following 15 high-level, gentamicin-resistant isolates were identified: six E. faecalis; four E. avium; three E. faecium, and two E. casseliflavus. Five of the six E. faecalis isolates were different by PFGE and transferred gentamicin and streptomycin resistance on filter membranes. Transfer frequencies ranged from 8.2 × 10-4 to 6.92 × 10-5 transconjugants/recipient cell. The plasmid content of donors and transconjugants were homogeneous (one plasmid of 47 kb). Conclusions: In this pediatric hospital, antimicrobial resistance in Enterococcus spp. is common. Frequency of high-level, gentamicin-resistant strains is low. Mechanism of HLGR appears to be due to a single plasmid dissemination.
- High-level gentamicin resistance
- Pediatric patients
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