High Levels of Antibiotic Resistance Patterns in Two Referral Hospitals during the Post-Ebola Era in Free-Town, Sierra Leone: 2017–2019

  30 June 2021

The Post-Ebola era (2017–2019) presented an opportunity for laboratory investments in Sierra Leone. US CDC supported the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to establish a microbiological unit for routine antimicrobial sensitivity testing in two referral (pediatric and maternity) hospitals in Freetown. This study describes resistance patterns among patients’ laboratory samples from 2017 to 2019 using routine data. Samples included urine, stool, cerebrospinal fluid, pus-wound, pleural fluid, and high vaginal swabs. Selected Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial isolates were tested for antimicrobial susceptibility. Of 200 samples received by the laboratory, 89 returned positive bacterial isolates with urine and pus-wound swabs accounting for 75% of positive isolates. The number of positive isolates increased annually from one in 2017 to 42 in 2018 and 46 in 2019. Resistance of the cultures to at least one antibiotic was high (91%), and even higher in the pediatric hospital (94%). Resistance was highest with penicillin (81%) for Gram-positive bacteria and lowest with nitrofurantoin (13%). Gram-negative bacteria were most resistant to ampicillin, gentamycin, streptomycin, tetracycline, cephalothin and penicillin (100%) and least resistant to novobiocin (0%). Antibiotic resistance for commonly prescribed antibiotics was high in two referral hospitals, highlighting the urgent need for antimicrobial stewardship and access to reserve antibiotics.

Author(s): Zikan Koroma et al
Effective Surveillance  
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