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Tetracyclines are broad-spectrum agents, exhibiting activity against a wide range of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria and are currently used for therapy and prophylaxis of human infections and for the prevention and control of bacterial infections in veterinary medicine. Streptomycin has only limited current usage in clinical medicine, but this antibiotic remains important for therapeutic and growth promotion in animals and for the bacterial disease control in plants.The increasing incidence of resistance to streptomycin and tetracyclines has been reported worldwide in Salmonella spp. of human and animal origin. Fifty-eight multidrug-resistant Salmonella enterica strains of twenty different serotypes, were chosen among the collection of multidrug-resistant strains isolated from animals and food of animal origin at the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie and at the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell’Abruzzo e Molise, during their routine surveillance activity in the 2000 and 2001 period.All strains showed resistance to at least three different antimicrobials: tetracycline and streptomycin resistances represent the 98% and 95% of the strains, respectively. Salmonella isolates were analyzed for the presence of genetic determinants conferring streptomycin and tetracyclines resistance by PCR for the tet(A) and strA-strB genes, respectively.The strA-strB genes were highly prevalent in Salmonella strains of our collection, being detected in the 83% of the streptomycin resistant strains; the 68% of the tetracycline resistant strains were tet(A) gene positive, indicating that this gene is widely diffused in Salmonella strains circulating in animals in Italy. Two prevalent repN- and repI1-resistance plasmids were identified in Salmonella isolates of our collection. In many strains, the strA-strB genes were linked to a particular Tn5393-derivative transposon, characterized by the presence of the insertion sequence IS1133. The IS1133-variant was previously described in Erwinia amylovora strains from plant sources. The identification of the Tn5393::IS1133 element in Salmonella suggests novel scenarios of resistance transmission among zoonotic and plant pathogens.
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