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Epidemiology of antibiotic-resistant wound infections from six countries in Africa


Introduction Little is known about the antimicrobial susceptibility of common bacteria responsible for wound infections from many countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Methods We performed a retrospective review of microbial isolates collected based on clinical suspicion of wound infection between 2004 and 2016 from Mercy Ships, a non-governmental organisation operating a single mobile surgical unit in Benin, Congo, Liberia, Madagascar, Sierra Leone and Togo. Antimicrobial resistant organisms of interest were defined as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or Enterobacteriaceae resistant to third-generation cephalosporins. Generalised mixed-effects models accounting for repeated isolates in a patient, potential clustering by case mix for each field service, age, gender and country were used to test the hypothesis that rates of antimicrobial resistance differed between countries.

Results 3145 isolates from repeated field services in six countries were reviewed. In univariate analyses, the highest proportion of MRSA was found in Benin (34.6%) and Congo (31.9%), while the lowest proportion was found in Togo (14.3%) and Madagascar (14.5%); country remained a significant predictor in multivariate analyses (P=0.002). In univariate analyses, the highest proportion of third-generation cephalosporin-resistant Enterobacteriaceae was found in Benin (35.8%) and lowest in Togo (14.3%) and Madagascar (16.3%). Country remained a significant predictor for antimicrobial-resistant isolates in multivariate analyses (P=0.009).

Conclusion A significant proportion of isolates from wound cultures were resistant to first-line antimicrobials in each country. Though antimicrobial resistance isolates were not verified in a reference laboratory and these data may not be representative of all regions of the countries studied, differences in the proportion of antimicrobial-resistant isolates and resistance profiles between countries suggest site-specific surveillance should be a priority and local antimicrobial resistance profiles should be used to guide empiric antibiotic selection.

  • epidemiology
  • infections
  • diseases
  • disorders
  • injuries
  • hospital-based study

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