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Absence of intestinal colonization by vancomycin-resistant enterococci in nonhuman primates

DOI: 10.1590/S0100-736X2010000600004

Keywords: enterococcus, vancomycin-resistance, mlva, monkey.

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the animal reservoirs of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (vre) have important role in the epidemiology of the bacteria and resistant genes. the present work searched fecal samples taken off nonhuman primates for the presence of vre. resistance profiles, virulence traits, and genetic variability among enterococci isolates were also analyzed. the samples included capuchin monkeys (cebus apella, n=28) and common marmoset (callithrix penicillata, n=37) housed in the primate center of the university of brasília, brazil. most individuals were captive monkeys from the central-west and south-east regions of brazil (n=48). we collected rectal swabs and carried out selective isolation followed by multiplex polymerase chain reaction (pcr) to identify species and resistance genes. no vana or vanb-containing enterococci were found. the carriage rates ranged from 1.5% for the vanc-type e. casseliflavus and e. gallinarum until 12.3% (n=8) for enterococcus faecalis. all e. faecalis isolates showed susceptibility to vancomycin, teicoplanin, ampicillin, gentamicin, and streptomycin. the virulence genes ace and esp were prevalent (100.0%, 87.5%). multilocus variable number of tandem repeats (mlva) revealed diversity in the number of repeats among e. faecalis isolates and targets, which was higher for espc, efa5, and efa6. we identified six different mlva genotypes that were divergent from those described in human beings. also, they were clustered into two genogroups that showed host-specificity for the species cebus apella or callithrix penicillata. in conclusion, no vana- or vanb-containing enterococci were found colonizing those primate individuals. this finding suggested that the primate individuals investigated in our study are not directly involved in the epidemiological chain of high-level vancomycin-resistant genes vana or vanb in brazil. our study also showed that e. faecalis isolated from nonhuman primates carry virulence traits and have ability to spread their lineages amon


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