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One health genomic study of human and animal Klebsiella pneumoniae isolated at diagnostic laboratories on a small Caribbean Island

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Klebsiella pneumoniae causes a variety of infections in both humans and animals. In this study, we characterised the genomes of human and animal isolates from two diagnostic laboratories on St. Kitts, a small Caribbean island inhabited by a large population of vervet monkeys. In view of the increased chances of direct or indirect contact with humans and other animal species, we used the One Health approach to assess transmission of K. pneumoniae across host species by sequencing 82 presumptive K. pneumoniae clinical isolates from humans (n = 51), vervets (n = 21), horses (n = 5), dogs (n = 4) and a cat (n = 1). Whole genome sequencing (WGS) was carried out using Illumina technology. De novo assembly was performed in CLC Genomics Workbench v.11.0. Single nucleotide polymorphisms were detected using NASP followed by phylogenetic analysis using IQ-TREE. Virulence and antimicrobial resistance gene contents were analysed using the Kleborate and CGE pipelines. WGS-based analysis showed that 72 isolates were K. pneumoniae sensu stricto and five K. quasipneumoniae and five K. variicola. K. pneumoniae isolates belonged to 35 sequence types (ST), three of which were occasionally shared between humans and animals: ST23, ST37 and ST307. The ST23 strains from vervets formed a separate cluster amongst publicly available sequenced ST23 strains, indicating the presence of a specific vervet sublineage. Animal strains harbored fewer resistance genes and displayed distinct virulence traits that appeared to be host-specific in vervet isolates. Our results show that K. pneumoniae infections on this Caribbean island are usually caused by host-specific lineages.
ISSN: 2079-6382
Issue: 1
Volume: 11
Publication year:2022