Emergence of Ciprofloxacin-Resistant Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhi in Italy

Aurora García-Fernández, Silvia Gallina, Slawomir Owczarek, Anna Maria Dionisi, Ildo Benedetti, Lucia Decastelli, Ida Luzzi

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In developed countries, typhoid fever is often associated with persons who travel to endemic areas or immigrate from them. Typhoid fever is a systemic infection caused by Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi. Because of the emergence of antimicrobial resistance to standard first-line drugs, fluoroquinolones are the drugs of choice. Resistance to ciprofloxacin by this Salmonella serovar represents an emerging public health issue. Two S. enterica ser. Typhi strains resistant to ciprofloxacin (CIP) were reported to the Italian surveillance system for foodborne and waterborne diseases (EnterNet-Italia) in 2013. The strains were isolated from two Italian tourists upon their arrival from India. A retrospective analysis of 17 other S. enterica ser. Typhi strains isolated in Italy during 2011-2013 was performed to determine their resistance to CIP. For this purpose, we assayed for susceptibility to antimicrobial agents and conducted PCR and nucleotide sequence analyses. Moreover, all strains were typed using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis to evaluate possible clonal relationships. Sixty-eight percent of the S. enterica ser. Typhi strains were resistant to CIP (MICs, 0.125-16 mg/L), and all isolates were negative for determinants of plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance. Analysis of sequences encoding DNA gyrase and topoisomerase IV subunits revealed mutations in gyrA, gyrB, and parC. Thirteen different clonal groups were detected, and the two CIP-resistant strains isolated from the individuals who visited India exhibited the same PFGE pattern. Because of these findings, the emergence of CIP-resistant S. enterica ser. Typhi isolates in Italy deserves attention, and monitoring antibiotic susceptibility is important for efficiently managing cases of typhoid fever.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0132065
JournalPLoS One
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents/pharmacology
  • Ciprofloxacin/pharmacology
  • DNA Gyrase/genetics
  • DNA Topoisomerase IV/genetics
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial/genetics
  • Fluoroquinolones/pharmacology
  • Italy
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Salmonella typhi/drug effects


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