We investigated the prevalence, persistence and virulence determinants of enterococci populations in water samples collected over three rounds following an extreme flood event in a metropolitan river. Enterococci (n = 482) were typed using the high resolution biochemical fingerprinting method (PhP typing) and grouped into common (C) or single (S) biochemical phenotypes (BPTs). In all, 23 C-BPTs (72.6% of isolates) were found across the sites. A representative isolate of each C-BPT was identified to the species level and tested for the presence of seven virulence genes (VGs), biofilm formation and resistance to 14 antibiotics. The enterococci concentrations in samples collected during the first two rounds were above national recreational water guidelines. By round three, enterococci concentrations decreased significantly (P < 0.05). However, 11 C-BPTs (55.5% of isolates) persisted across all sampling rounds. E. casseliflavus and E. mundtii were the most common enterococci populations comprising of >57% of all isolates. Ten of the 11 most dominant C-BPTs were resistant to multiple antibiotics and harboured one or more VGs. The high prevalence of antibiotic resistance and VGs among enterococci isolates in this catchment not only provides them with niche advantages but also poses a risk to public health.

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