Molecular characterization of fluoroquinolone resistance genes in isolates obtained from patients with diarrhea in Machakos District Hospital, Kenya

Bonventure W Juma, Samuel Kariuki, Peter G Waiyaki, Marion W Mutugi, Wallace D Bulimo


Background: Diarrhea caused by Enterobacteriaceae such as Shigella species and Escherichia coli (E. coli) is endemic throughout the world, and is one of the most important causes of global childhood mortality and morbidity. There is a range of antibiotics that can be used for treatment among them quinolones. However, there is emerging increase in microbial resistance to quinolones use, with E. coli and Shigellae among the species of bacteria commonly associated with quinolone resistance.

Objective: To investigate the prevalence of quinolone resistance genes in Shigellae and E. coli from patients presenting with diarrhea in Machakos District Hospital.

Methods: Bacteria isolates were identified to species level by biochemical methods and serology and thereafter tested for 12 different antibiotics including quinolones, cephalosporins and aminoglycosides. Those resistant to quinolones with a zone diameter of ≤20 mm were tested for the presence of quinolone resistance genes using PCR. The gyrA resistance genes were further analyzed by sequencing to determine mutations within the quinolone resistance regions.

Results: There were different E. coli pathotypes and Shigellae spp.  They resisted more than four antibiotics: Ciprofloxacin (4%), (Chloramphenical (28%), Cotrimoxazole (78%), Co-amoxilav (70%) Erythromycin (98%) Cefotoxime (18%) and Tetracycline (56%). Mutations responsible for fluoroquinolone resistance in the gyrA, gyrB, parC, and parE genes of E. coli and Shigella spp were: gyrA (17/30, 36%) gyrB (7/30, 23.3%) topoisomerase (parC 3/30, 10%) parE (3/30, 10%).

Discussion: There is an increase in fluoroquinolone resistance in Shigellae and E.coli which points to a major challenge in current treatment strategies. In addition, detection of high resistance found to commonly used antibiotics should serve as a warning call for close surveillance and understanding of the epidemiology of the resistance.

Key words: Quinolone antibiotics, resistance, Shigella, Escherichia coli


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