Source-tracking ESBL-producing bacteria at the maternity ward of Mulago hospital, Uganda: ESBL-producing bacteria at the maternity ward of Mulago Hospital, Uganda

Richard Mayanja, Adrian Muwonge*, Dickson Aruhomukama, Fred Ashaba Katabazi, Mudarshiru Bbuye, Edgar Kigozi, Annettee Nakimuli, Musa Sekikubo, Christine Florence Najjuka*, David Patrick Kateete*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Introduction: Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Enterobacter (EKE) are the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in neonates in Africa. The management of EKE infections remains challenging given the global emergence of carbapenem resistance in Gram-negative bacteria. This study aimed to investigate the source of EKE organisms for neonates in the maternity environment of a national referral hospital in Uganda, by examining the phenotypic and molecular characteristics of isolates from mothers, neonates, and maternity ward.
Methods: From August 2015 to August 2016, we conducted a cross-sectional study of pregnant women admitted for elective surgical delivery at Mulago hospital in Kampala, Uganda; we sampled (nose, armpit, groin) 137 pregnant women and their newborns (n=137), as well as health workers (n=67) and inanimate objects (n=70 – beds, ventilator tubes, sinks, toilets, door-handles) in the maternity ward. Samples (swabs) were cultured for growth of EKE bacteria and isolates phenotypically/molecularly investigated for antibiotic sensitivity, β-lactamase and carbapenemase activity. To infer relationships among the EKE isolates, spatial cluster analysis of phenotypic and genotypic susceptibility characteristics was done using the Ridom server.
Results: Gram-negative bacteria were isolated from 21 mothers (15%), 15 neonates(11%), 2 health workers (3%), and 13 inanimate objects (19%); a total of 131 Gramnegative isolates were identified of which 104 were EKE bacteria i.e., 23 (22%) E. coli, 50 (48%) K. pneumoniae, and 31 (30%) Enterobacter. Carbapenems were the most effective antibiotics as 89% (93/104) of the isolates were susceptible to meropenem; however, multidrug resistance was prevalent i.e., 61% (63/104). Furthermore, carbapenemase production and carbapenemase gene prevalence were low; 10% (10/104) and 6% (6/104), respectively. Extended spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) production occurred in 37 (36%) isolates though 61 (59%) carried ESBL-encoding genes, mainly blaCTX-M (93%, 57/61) indicating that blaCTX-M is the ideal gene for tracking ESBL-mediated resistance at Mulago. Additionally, spatial cluster analysis revealed isolates from mothers, new-borns, health workers, and environment with similar phenotypic/genotypic characteristics, suggesting transmission of multidrugresistant EKE to new-borns.
Conclusion: Our study shows evidence of transmission of drug resistant EKE bacteria in the maternity ward of Mulago hospital, and the dynamics in the ward are more likely to be responsible for transmission but not individual mother characteristics. The high prevalence of drug resistance genes highlights the need for effective infection prevention/control measures and antimicrobial stewardship programs to reduce spread of drug-resistant bacteria in the hospital and improve patient outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0286955
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
Early online date8 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Escherichia coli
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae
  • Enterobacter species
  • gram-negative bacteria
  • ESBLs
  • Carbapenemases
  • Antibiotic resistance genes
  • PCR
  • multidrug resistance
  • MDR
  • Source-tracking
  • Cluster-analysis
  • Mulago hospital
  • Caesarian Surgical delivery
  • Pregnant Women
  • Neonates
  • Health workers
  • Maternity ward
  • Animates
  • inanimates
  • Kampala
  • Uganda


Dive into the research topics of 'Source-tracking ESBL-producing bacteria at the maternity ward of Mulago hospital, Uganda: ESBL-producing bacteria at the maternity ward of Mulago Hospital, Uganda'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this