Surveillance and outbreak reports Open Access
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Resistance to cephalosporins in Haemophilus influenzae is usually caused by characteristic alterations in penicillin-binding protein 3 (PBP3), encoded by the ftsI gene. Resistance to extended-spectrum cephalosporins is associated with high-level PBP3-mediated resistance (high-rPBP3), defined by the second stage S385T substitution in addition to a first stage substitution (R517H or N526K). The third stage L389F substitution is present in some high-rPBP3 strains. High-rPBP3 H. influenzae are considered rare outside Japan and Korea. In this study, 30 high-rPBP3 isolates from Norway, collected between 2006 and 2013, were examined by serotyping, multilocus sequence typing (MLST), ftsI sequencing, detection of beta-lactamase genes and minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) determination. MICs were interpreted according to clinical breakpoints from the European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (EUCAST). Respiratory isolates predominated (proportion: 24/30). The 30 isolates included one serotype f isolate, while the remaining 29 lacked polysaccharide capsule genes. Resistance to extended-spectrum cephalosporins (cefixime, 29 isolates/30 isolates; cefepime, 28/30; cefotaxime, 26 /30; ceftaroline, 26/30; ceftriaxone, 14/30), beta-lactamase production (11/30) and co-resistance to non-beta-lactams (trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, 13/30; tetracycline, 4/30; chloramphenicol, 4/30; ciprofloxacin, 3/30) was frequent. The N526K substitution in PBP3 was present in 23 of 30 isolates; these included a blood isolate which represents the first invasive S385T?+?N526K isolate reported from Europe. The L389F substitution, present in 16 of 30 isolates, coincided with higher beta-lactam MICs. Non-susceptibility to meropenem was frequent in S385T?+?L389F?+?N526K isolates (8/12). All 11 beta-lactamase positive isolates were TEM-1. Five clonal groups of two to 10 isolates with identical MLST-ftsI allelic profiles were observed, including the first reported high-rPBP3 clone with TEM-1 beta-lactamase and co-resistance to ciprofloxacin, tetracycline, chloramphenicol and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Prior to this study, no multidrug resistant high-rPBP3 H. influenzae had been reported in Norway. Intensified surveillance of antimicrobial resistance is needed to guide empiric therapy.


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