School of Medical and Health Sciences
In the last decade, Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) has reached an epidemic state with increasing incidence and severity in both health care and community settings. Vancomycin is an important first-line therapy for CDI, and the emergence of resistance would have significant clinical consequences. In this study, we describe for the first time a vanB2 vancomycin resistance operon in C. difficile, isolated from an Australian veal calf at slaughter. The operon was carried on an ~42-kb element showing significant homology and synteny to Tn1549, a conjugative transposon linked with the emergence and global dissemination of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE). Notably, the C. difficile strain did not show any reduced susceptibility to vancomycin in vitro (MIC, 1 mg/liter), possibly as a result of an aberrant vanRB gene. As observed for other anaerobic species of the animal gut microbiota, C. difficile may be a reservoir of clinically important vancomycin resistance genes.
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