The study characterizes a collection of 67 neonatal septicaemic Escherichia coli isolates on the basis of phylogroup, serotype, virulence, antibiotic resistance and also the association of CTX-M-producing E. coli and the ST131 clone in a developing country. Phylogroups B2 and D were predominant (33% and 19%, respectively). The most prevalent virulence factors (VFs) were traT (69%) and iucC (68%) and most VFs were concentrated in the B2 isolates. High levels of resistance (⩾70%) to cefotaxime, ciprofloxacin and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole was recorded but meropenem remained the most active antimicrobial. Six (9%) of the study isolates belonged to the ST131 clone, five of which were from the same hospital, and were either indistinguishable or closely related by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Although the prevalence of CTX-M-15-producing isolates was high (81%), the ST131 clone was relatively infrequent (11%) in extended spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producers. The ST131 clone was characterized by the presence of bla
CTX-M-15, qnrS, aac(6′)-Ib-cr, IncF plasmids and virulence determinants such as iucC, papC, traT, usp, hlyA, iroN
, cnf, and sat. We conclude that clonal spread of ST131 did not contribute directly to the high prevalence of CTX-M-15 in our settings.