Multidrug-resistant enterobacteriaceae in coastal water: an emerging threat

Regev Cohen, Svetlana Paikin, Assaf Rokney, Maxim Rubin-Blum, Peleg Astrahan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The environmental role of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) acquisition and infection in human disease has been described but not thoroughly investigated. We aimed to assess the occurrence of CPE in nearshore aquatic bodies. Methods: Enterobacteriaceae were cultured from coastal and estuary water near Netanya, Israel in June and July of 2018. Bacteria were identified by VITEK2® and their antimicrobial susceptibility was tested according to the CLSI guidelines. Enterobacteriaceae genomes were sequenced to elucidate their resistome and carbapenemase types. Results: Among other clinically relevant bacteria, four CPE (three Enterobacter spp and one Escherichia coli isolate) were isolated from two river estuaries (Poleg and Alexander Rivers) and coastal water at a popular recreational beach (Beit Yanai). Molecular analysis and genome sequencing revealed the persistent presence of rare beta-lactamase resistance genes, including blaIMI-2 and a previously unknown blaIMI-20 allele, which were not found among the local epidemiological strains. Genome comparisons revealed the high identity of riverine and marine CPE that were cultivated one month apart. Conclusions: We show that CPE contamination was widespread in nearshore marine and riverine habitats. The high genome-level similarity of riverine and marine CPEs, isolated one month apart, hints at the common source of infection. We discuss the clinical implications of these findings and stress the urgent need to assess the role of the aquatic environment in CPE epidemiology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number169
JournalAntimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control
Issue number1
StatePublished - 30 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).


  • Carbapenemase producing enterobacteriaceae (CPE)
  • Enterobacter spp
  • Estuary
  • Israel
  • Public health
  • Seawater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Multidrug-resistant enterobacteriaceae in coastal water: an emerging threat'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this