IncF Plasmids Are Commonly Carried by Antibiotic Resistant Escherichia coli Isolated from Drinking Water Sources in Northern Tanzania
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The aim of this study was to identify the replicon types of plasmids, conjugation efficiencies, and the complement of antibiotic resistance genes for a panel of multidrug resistant E. coli isolates from surface waters in northern Tanzania. Standard membrane filtration was used to isolate and uidA PCR was used to confirm the identity of strains as E. coli. Antibiotic susceptibility was determined by breakpoint assay and plasmid conjugation was determined by filter-mating experiments. PCR and sequencing were used to identify resistance genes and PCR-based replicon typing was used to determine plasmid types. Filter mating experiments indicated conjugation efficiencies ranged from 10−1 to 10−7. Over 80% of the donor cells successfully passed their resistance traits and eleven different replicon types were detected (IncI1, FIC, P, FIIA,A/C, FIB, FIA,H12, K/B B/O, and N). IncF plasmids weremost commonly detected (49% of isolates), followed by types IncI1 and IncA/C. Detection of these public health-relevant conjugative plasmids and antibiotic resistant traits in Tanzanian water suggests the possible pollution of these water sources from human, livestock, and wild animal wastes and also shows the potential of these water sources in the maintenance and transmission of these resistance traits between environments, animals, and people.