Abstract

Molecular characterization and antimicrobial resistance of Clostridium perfringens isolates of different origins from Costa Rica. Clostridium perfringens, a Gram positive, spore-forming anaerobe, is widely distributed in nature. Based upon their production of four major toxins α, β, ε and ι, C. perfringens is classified into five toxinotypes (A-E). Some strains produce an enterotoxin (CPE), encoded by the cpe gene, which causes diarrhea in humans and some animals. C. perfringens strains that had been previously isolated and been kept at -80°C were analyzed for the presence of toxin genes and for antimicrobial resistance: 20 from soils, 20 from animal, 20 from human origin and 21 from food non related to outbreaks. According to PCR results, all strains were classified as C. perfringens type A, since only a toxin gene was detected, while cpe was detected in two strains (2.5%) isolated from food, as it has been described in other world regions. Antibiotic resistance to at least one antibiotic was detected in 44% of the strains, 41% was resistant to clindamycin, 25% to chloramphenicol, 22% to penicillin and 20% to metronidazole. Soils strains showed the highest resistance percentages to almost all antibiotics. Multiresistance (to three or more antibiotic groups) was detected in the strains from soil (40%), human origin (30%), food (14%) and animal origin (5%). The high resistance rates found may be explained by the widespread use of antimicrobials as growth promoters in plants and animals; also these resistant strains may act as reservoir of resistance genes that may be transferred between bacteria in different environments.