Molecular Epidemiological Characterisation of ESBL- and Plasmid-Mediated AmpC-Producing Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae at Kamuzu Central Hospital, Lilongwe, Malawi
AuthorChoonara, Faheema Ebrahim; Haldorsen, Bjørg; Janice, Jessin; Mbanga, Joshua; Ndhlovu, Isaac; Saulosi, Osborne; Maida, Tarsizio; Lampiao, Fanuel; Simonsen, Gunnar Skov; Essack, Sabiha Yusuf; Sundsfjord, Arnfinn
The global rise in infections caused by multidrug resistant (MDR) Enterobacterales poses a public health problem. We have performed a molecular epidemiological characterisation of representative plasmid-mediated AmpC (pAmpC) and ESBL-positive clinical isolates of Escherichia coli (n = 38) and Klebsiella pneumoniae (n = 17) from a tertiary hospital in Malawi collected in 2017. BlaCTX-M-15 was the most prevalent ESBL-determinant in E. coli (n = 30/38) and K. pneumoniae (n = 17/17), whereas blaCMY-2 was detected in nearly all AmpC-phenotype E. coli (n = 15/17). Whole genome sequencing revealed dominant globally disseminated E. coli sequence types (STs); ST410 (n = 16), ST131 (n = 7), and ST617 (n = 6). The ST distribution in K. pneumoniae was more diverse but included ST101 (n = 2), ST14 (n = 2), and ST340 (n = 2), all considered high-risk MDR clones. The isolates expressed an MDR profile, including resistance against commonly used antibiotics, such as fluoroquinolones, aminoglycosides, and/or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, and harboured corresponding resistance determinants. Clonal analyses of the major STs of E. coli revealed closely related genetic clusters within ST410, ST131, and ST617 supporting within-hospital transmission between patients and/or via a common reservoir. The overall findings add to the limited knowledge on the molecular epidemiology of MDR E. coli and K. pneumoniae in Malawi and may help health policy makers to identify areas to target when addressing this major threat of antibiotic resistance.