Poultry-Adapted E. Coli Implicated in Subset of Urinary Tract Infections

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – An Escherichia coli strain that is adapted to poultry — and sometimes found in retail chicken and turkey products — appears capable of causing urinary tract infections (UTI) in humans, according to research published in mBio yesterday.

“This particular E. coli strain appears capable of thriving in poultry and causing disease in people,” first author Cindy Liu, a researcher affiliated with George Washington University, Northern Arizona University, and Translational Genomics Research Institute, said in a statement, noting that “[p]oultry products could be an important vehicle for bacteria that can cause diseases other than diarrhea.”

Liu and her colleagues focused on the E. coli sequence type 131, which has “emerged explosively since the early 2000s,” becoming a well-known uropathogen that is often resistant to multiple antibiotics. For their new study, the investigators used multilocus sequence typing (MLST), core genome SNP-based phylogenetics, and other approaches to systematically analyze thousands of E. coli isolates collected from meat products and clinical cases over a year in Flagstaff, Arizona.

The team detected E. coli in one form or another in nearly 80 percent of the 2,452 meat samples considered, including 27 E. coli ST131 isolates. All but two of the ST131 isolates fell

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