Background: Antimicrobial resistance in microorganisms are on the increase worldwide and are responsible for substantial cases of therapeutic failures. Resistance of species of Enterococcus
to antibiotics is linked to their ability to acquire and disseminate antimicrobial resistance determinants in nature, and wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are considered to be one of the main reservoirs of such antibiotic resistant bacteria.
We therefore determined the antimicrobial resistance and virulence profiles of some common Enterococcus
spp that are known to be associated with human infections that were recovered from hospital wastewater and final effluent of the receiving wastewater treatment plant in Alice, Eastern Cape. Methods: Wastewater samples were simultaneously collected from two sites (Victoria hospital and final effluents of a municipal WWTP) in Alice at about one to two weeks interval during the months of July and August 2014. Samples were screened for the isolation of enterococci using standard microbiological methods. The isolates were profiled molecularly after targeted generic identification and speciation for the presence of virulence and antibiotic resistance genes. Results: Out of 66 presumptive isolates, 62 were confirmed to belong to the Enterococcus genusof
which 30 were identified to be E. faecalis
and 15 E. durans
. The remaining isolates were not identified by the primers used in the screening procedure. Out of the six virulence genes that were targeted only three of them; ace, efaA
, and gelE
were detected. There was a very high phenotypic multiple resistance among the isolates and these were confirmed by genetic analyses. Conclusions: Analyses of the results obtained indicated that hospital wastewater may be one of the sources of antibiotic resistant bacteria to the receiving WWTP. Also, findings revealed that the final effluent discharged into the environment was contaminated with multi-resistant enterococci species thus posing a health hazard to the receiving aquatic environment as these could eventually be transmitted to humans and animals that are exposed to it.
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