BACKGROUND: Some routes of transmission of Escherichia coli O157:H7 to fresh produce include contaminated irrigation water and manure polluted soils. The aim of the present study was to determine the genetic relationships of E. coli O157:H7 isolated from some produce growing region in Nigeria using enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus (ERIC) DNA fingerprinting analysis. A total of 440 samples comprising leafy greens, irrigation water, manure and soil were obtained from vegetable producing regions in Kano and Plateau States, Nigeria. Genes coding for the quinolone resistance-determinant (gyrA) and plasmid (pCT) coding for multidrug resistance (MDR) were determined using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in 16 isolates that showed MDR.
RESULTS: Cluster analysis of the ERIC-PCR profiles based on band sizes revealed six main clusters from the sixteen isolates analysed. The largest cluster (cluster 3) grouped isolates from vegetables and manure at a similarity coefficient of 0.72.
CONCLUSION: The present study provides data that support the potential transmission of resistant strains of E. coli O157:H7 from vegetables and environmental sources to humans with potential public health implications, especially in developing countries. © 2017 Society of Chemical Industry.