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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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WGS of 1058 Enterococcus faecium from Copenhagen, Denmark, reveals rapid clonal expansion of vancomycin-resistant clone ST80 combined with widespread dissemination of a vanA-containing plasmid and acquisition of a heterogeneous accessory genome

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OBJECTIVES: From 2012 to 2015, a sudden significant increase in vancomycin-resistant (vanA) Enterococcus faecium (VREfm) was observed in the Capital Region of Denmark. Clonal relatedness of VREfm and vancomycin-susceptible E. faecium (VSEfm) was investigated, transmission events between hospitals were identified and the pan-genome and plasmids from the largest VREfm clonal group were characterized.

METHODS: WGS of 1058 E. faecium isolates was carried out on the Illumina platform to perform SNP analysis and to identify the pan-genome. One isolate was also sequenced on the PacBio platform to close the genome. Epidemiological data were collected from laboratory information systems.

RESULTS: Phylogeny of 892 VREfm and 166 VSEfm revealed a polyclonal structure, with a single clonal group (ST80) accounting for 40% of the VREfm isolates. VREfm and VSEfm co-occurred within many clonal groups; however, no VSEfm were related to the dominant VREfm group. A similar vanA plasmid was identified in ≥99% of isolates belonging to the dominant group and 69% of the remaining VREfm. Ten plasmids were identified in the completed genome, and ∼29% of this genome consisted of dispensable accessory genes. The size of the pan-genome among isolates in the dominant group was 5905 genes.

CONCLUSIONS: Most probably, VREfm emerged owing to importation of a successful VREfm clone which rapidly transmitted to the majority of hospitals in the region whilst simultaneously disseminating a vanA plasmid to pre-existing VSEfm. Acquisition of a heterogeneous accessory genome may account for the success of this clone by facilitating adaptation to new environmental challenges.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of antimicrobial chemotherapy
Volume74
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1776-1785
Number of pages10
ISSN0305-7453
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019

ID: 56909989