The purpose of this thesis was to study enterococci in Sweden, their resistance to antibiotics in general and high-level gentamicin resistance (HLGR) in particular, with a special focus on the ICU setting. Dynamics of rectal colonisation during prolonged intensive care unit (ICU) stay was assessed. In addition, enterococcal virulence factors and the ability to adhere to abiotic surfaces such as urinary catheters were studied.
We found that among prolonged-stay patients admitted to ICUs, the rectal flora was altered, with a decrease in Gram-negative rods in favour of Gram-positive bacteria, mainly Coagulase negative staphylococci and enterococci.
Among clinical enterococcal isolates from patients admitted to Swedish ICUs, although vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE) were only sporadically found, multidrug resistance was common. This was most apparent in Enterococcus faecium, where the majority of isolates were ampicillin- and quinolone resistant. Enterococcus faecalis was still the most frequently isolated enterococcal species in clinical specimens. Among patients admitted to Swedish ICUs 1996-1998, E. faecalis with HLGR was found in higher frequency (20%) than previously reported. The majority (89%) of these isolates belonged to two dominating clusters of genetically related E. faecalis. Cluster I (69%), which was predominantly found in the eastern and central parts of southern Sweden and Cluster II (20%) in south-western Sweden.
In the County of Östergötland, the first E. faecalis with HLGR isolated from blood cultures was found in 1996. The yearly incidence of isolates with HLGR in E. faecalis bacteraemia was studied from 1996-2001, and varied between 9-22%. The majority of these isolates were genetically related and belonged to Cluster I, also found in the previous study. The first blood isolate of E. faecium with HLGR in the County of Östergötland was found in 1999. A clone of E. faecium, with HLGR and ampicillin resistance, was found to colonise 6/10 and 2/11 prolonged-stay patients admitted from November 2001 through January 2002 to the general ICU and cardio-thoracic ICU, respectively, at the University Hospital of Linköping.
All studied isolates with HLGR carried the gene aac(6')-Ie-aph(2'')-Ia encoding the bifunctional aminoglycoside modifying enzyme Aac(6')Ie-Aph(2'')Ia, which conveys resistance to all commercially available amino-glycosides except streptomycin. The location of the gene, aac(6')Ie-aph(2'')-Ia, was studied in 45 E. faecalis isolates and the gene was carried on a Tn5281-like transposon in all isolates except one. The 30 µg disc diffusion test, as recommended by the SRGA, had 100% sensitivity and specificity when compared to PCR detection of aac(6')-Ie-aph(2'')-Ia.
E. faecalis isolates with HLGR belonging to widely disseminated clusters of genetically related isolates were more likely to carry both the gene encoding enterococcal surface protein (esp) and the gene encoding aggregation substance (asa1) compared to unique isolates. Esp was the only virulence factor found among E. faecium isolates, where it was common. E. faecalis isolates adhered with higher bacterial densities to urinary tract catheters compared to E. faecium isolates. In vitro adherence to urinary tract catheters was not affected by esp.
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press , 2005. , 99 p.
2005-02-18, Berzeliussalen, Hälsouniversitetet, Campus US, Linköpings Universitet, Linköping, 13:00 (English)