Carriage of multidrug resistant Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis among apparently healthy humans
Background: Enterococci are indigenous flora of the gastro-intestinal tracts of animals and humans. Recently, interest in two major species, E. faecium and E. faecalis, has heightened because of their ability to cause serious infections and their intrinsic resistance to antimicrobials. This study was aimed at determining the prevalence of E. faecium and E. faecalis in human faecal samples and evaluating the susceptibility of the isolates to antibiotics.
Materials and Methods:One hundred faecal samples were collected from apparently healthy individuals and analysed using conventional bacteriological methods. The susceptibility profile of the isolates to nine antibiotics were determined using disk diffusion method.
Results: Seventy-three (73) Enterococcus were phenotypically identified and 65 of the isolates were differentiated into 36 (55.4%) E. faecium and 29 (44.6%) E. faecalis. Eight (8) isolates could not be identified by the conventional biochemical methods employed. No dual colonization by the E. faecalis and E. faecium was observed and isolation rate was not dependent on sex of the participants. All the isolates were resistant to ceftriaxone, cefuroxime and ceftizoxime. Enterococcus faecium exhibited resistance to erythromycin (88.9%), gentamicin (77.8%), amoxicillinclavulanate (63.9%), ofloxacin (44.4%), teicoplanin (19.4%) and vancomycin (16.7%). Enterococcus faecalis showed the least resistance to vancomycin (13.8%) and teicoplanin (27.7%). Remarkable multiple antibiotic resistances to the classes of antibiotic tested were observed among the two species.
Conclusion: The high carriage rate of antibiotic resistant E. faecium and E. faecalis in this study provides information on the local antibiotic patterns of our enterococci isolates thereby suggesting that they could present as important reservoir and vehicle for dissemination of resistant genes in our community.
Keywords: Enterococcus faecium, Human faecal samples, Enterococcus faecalis, Biochemical identification, Antibiotic resistance.