by Le Thi Minh Vien, Ngo Ngoc Quang Minh, Tang Chi Thuong, Huynh Duy Khuong, Tran Vu Thieu Nga, Corinne Thompson, James I. Campbell, Menno de Jong, Jeremy J. Farrar, Constance Schultsz, H. Rogier van Doorn, Stephen Baker
Antimicrobial consumption is one of the major contributing factors facilitating the development and maintenance of bacteria exhibiting antimicrobial resistance. Plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance (PMQR) genes, such as the qnr family, can be horizontally transferred and contribute to reduced susceptibility to fluoroquinolones. We performed an observational study, investigating the copy number of PMQR after antimicrobial therapy. We enrolled 300 children resident in Ho Chi Minh City receiving antimicrobial therapy for acute respiratory tract infections (ARIs). Rectal swabs were taken on enrollment and seven days subsequently, counts for Enterobacteriaceae were performed and qnrA, qnrB and qnrS were quantified by using real-time PCR on metagenomic stool DNA. On enrollment, we found no association between age, gender or location of the participants and the prevalence of qnrA, qnrB or qnrS. Yet, all three loci demonstrated a proportional increase in the number of samples testing positive between day 0 and day 7. Furthermore, qnrB demonstrated a significant increase in copy number between paired samples (p<0.001; Wilcoxon rank-sum), associated with non-fluoroquinolone combination antimicrobial therapy. To our knowledge, this is the first study describing an association between the use of non-fluoroquinolone antimicrobials and the increasing relative prevalence and quantity of qnr genes. Our work outlines a potential mechanism for the selection and maintenance of PMQR genes and predicts a strong effect of co-selection of these resistance determinants through the use of unrelated and potentially unnecessary antimicrobial regimes.