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Identifying Antimicrobial Multiresistance Patterns of Escherichia coli Sampled From Diarrhoeic Calves by Cluster Analysis Techniques: A Way to Guide Research on Multiresistance Mechanisms


D. Calavas. AFSSA, French Agency for Food Safety, Veterinary research laboratory on cattle diseases and meat safety, 31 Avenue Tony Garnier, 69364 Lyon Cedex 07, France. Tel.: +33 4 78 72 65 43; Fax: +33 4 78 61 91 45; E-mail:


Multiresistance is a critical issue. This study points out the usefulness of cluster analysis techniques to describe concisely the antimicrobial susceptibility patterns of bacterial isolates in a way that could effectively help in generating hypotheses on multiresistance mechanisms. Data were selected from the French antimicrobial resistance survey network on veterinary pathogens (Resapath). They were related to 1545 Escherichia coli isolates, which were isolated from faecal samples of diarrhoeic calves in France between 2002 and 2006. Ten clusters of isolates displaying similar features in terms of resistance profile to 13 relevant antimicrobials were computed. The presence of two to ten simultaneous resistances was detected in nine out of the ten clusters. Looking at potential mechanistic interpretations, results may suggest genetic links between some resistance mechanisms, but this should be confirmed by molecular investigation of the corresponding isolates. Looking at therapeutical potential implications, the high level of resistance and multiresistance to several antimicrobials observed in E. coli makes a critical reassessment of empiric oral antimicrobial therapy in calves highly desirable.