A multidrug-resistant clonal group (CgA) of Escherichia coli was shown to cause half of all trimethoprim–sulphamethoxazole (TMP–SMZ)-resistant urinary tract infections (UTIs) in a college community between October 1999 and January 2000. This second study was conducted to determine the fate of CgA. Urine E. coli isolates from women with UTI, collected between October 2000 and January 2001, were tested for antibiotic susceptibility, O serogroup, ERIC2 PCR and DNA macrorestriction patterns using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. The proportion of UTIs caused by CgA declined by 38% (P<0·001) but the prevalence of resistance to TMP–SMZ did not change. Six additional clonal groups were identified and these were responsible for 32% of TMP–SMZ-resistant UTIs. The temporal decline in the proportion of UTIs caused by CgA provides evidence that CgA caused a community outbreak of UTI. The fluctuation and occurrence of other E. coli clonal groups in this community suggest that a proportion of community-acquired UTIs may be caused by E. coli disseminated from one or more point sources.
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