Background: The geographic distribution of the major clone of sequence type 131 (ST131) in extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli (E. coli) infections is not known. We analyzed the clinical features, resistance mechanisms, and geographic distribution of ESBL-producing E. coli clones in 120 children. Methods: We studied the 120 ESBL-producing E. coli strains from children younger than 18 years. A VITEK 2 automated system was used to determine bacterial identification and ESBL production. Sequence type was determined by multi-locus sequence typing (MLST). The genetic relationship of the ESBL-producing strains was studied using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Phylogenetic group and blaCTX-M group was performed using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Multiplex PCR for detecting the common group 9 variant, CTX-M-14, and group 1 variant, CTX-M-15, was also performed. The addresses of the 120 children were collected, and plotted on the Taiwan map. Results: The groups in the center of Kaohsiung City lived mainly in urban areas with a population density of over 10,000 people per square kilometer, and the majority of the Kaohsiung groups on the outskirts of the city center lived in suburban areas with a population density of under 6000 people per square kilometer. There was no statistically significant difference between the city center and outskirt groups in terms of clinical presentation, laboratory, and imaging data. However, more ST131 clones, major pulsotype groups, and phylogenetic group B2 strains were found in the center of Kaohsiung than on the outskirts. Conclusion: ESBL-producing E. coli clones may be more challenging to treat clinically. Most infections were community-acquired, and there appeared to be major pulsotype clones, mainly in urban areas. This reinforces the necessity of environmental surveillance and sanitary procedures for ESBL-producing E. coli.
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