Spread of Multidrug-Resistant Rhodococcus equi, United States. Academic Article uri icon


  • Multidrug resistance has been detected in the animal and zoonotic human pathogen Rhodococcus equi after mass macrolide/rifampin antibioprophylaxis in endemically affected equine farms in the United States. Multidrug-resistant (MDR) R. equi emerged upon acquisition of pRERm46, a conjugative plasmid conferring resistance to macrolides, lincosamides, streptogramins, and, as we describe, tetracycline. Phylogenomic analyses indicate that the increasing prevalence of MDR R. equi since it was first documented in 2002 is caused by a clone, R. equi 2287, attributable to coselection of pRErm46 with a chromosomal rpoBS531F mutation driven by macrolide/rifampin therapy. pRErm46 spillover to other R. equi genotypes has given rise to a novel MDR clone, G2016, associated with a distinct rpoBS531Y mutation. Our findings illustrate that overuse of antimicrobial prophylaxis in animals can generate MDR pathogens with zoonotic potential. MDR R. equi and pRErm46-mediated resistance are currently disseminating in the United States and are likely to spread internationally through horse movements.

published proceedings

  • Emerg Infect Dis

altmetric score

  • 2

author list (cited authors)

  • lvarez-Narvez, S., Gigure, S., Cohen, N., Slovis, N., & Vzquez-Boland, J. A.

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Álvarez-Narváez, Sonsiray||Giguère, Steeve||Cohen, Noah||Slovis, Nathan||Vázquez-Boland, José A

publication date

  • February 2021