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A mobile colistin resistance gene mcr was first reported in 2016 in China and has since been found with increasing prevalence across South-East Asia. Here we survey the presence of mcr genes in 4907 rectal swabs from mothers and neonates from three hospital sites across Nigeria; a country with limited availability or history of colistin use clinically. Forty mother and seven neonatal swabs carried mcr genes in a range of bacterial species: 46 Enterobacter spp. and single isolates of; Shigella, E. coli and Klebsiella quasipneumoniae. Ninety percent of the genes were mcr-10 (n = 45) we also found mcr-1 (n = 3) and mcr-9 (n = 1). While the prevalence during this collection (2015-2016) was low, the widespread diversity of mcr-gene type and range of bacterial species in this sentinel population sampling is concerning. It suggests that agricultural colistin use was likely encouraging sustainment of mcr-positive isolates in the community and implementation of medical colistin use will rapidly select and expand resistant isolates.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Commun

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