Original Research

Antibiotic resistance trends of ESKAPE pathogens in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa: A five-year retrospective analysis

Yogandree Ramsamy, Sabiha Y. Essack, Benn Sartorius, Miriam Patel, Koleka P. Mlisana
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine | Vol 7, No 2 | a887 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajlm.v7i2.887 | © 2018 Yogandree Ramsamy, Sabiha Yusuf Essack, Benn Sartorius, Miriam Patel, Koleka Patience Mlisana | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 August 2018 | Published: 06 December 2018

About the author(s)

Yogandree Ramsamy, Department of Medical Microbiology, School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences, Antimicrobial Research Unit, University of Kwazulu-Natal, National Health Laboratory Services, Durban, South Africa
Sabiha Y. Essack, Antimicrobial Research Unit, College of Health Sciences, University of Kwazulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Benn Sartorius, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of Kwazulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Miriam Patel, Antimicrobial Research Unit, College of Health Sciences, University of Kwazulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Koleka P. Mlisana, National Health Laboratory Services, University of Kwazulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


Background: To combat antimicrobial resistance, the World Health Organization developed a global priority pathogen list of antibiotic-resistant bacteria for prioritisation of research and development of new, effective antibiotics.

Objective: This study describes a five-year resistance trend analysis of the ESKAPE pathogens: Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterobacter spp., from Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa.

Methods: This retrospective study used National Health Laboratory Services data on 64 502 ESKAPE organisms isolated between 2011 and 2015. Susceptibility trends were ascertained from minimum inhibitory concentrations and interpreted using Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute guidelines.

Results: S. aureus was most frequently isolated (n = 24, 495, 38%), followed by K. pneumoniae (n = 14, 282, 22%). Decreasing rates of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (28% to 18%, p < 0.001) and increasing rates of extended spectrum beta-lactamase producing K. pneumoniae (54% to 65% p < 0.001) were observed. Carbapenem resistance among K. pneumoniae and Enterobacter spp. was less than 6% during 2011–2014, but increased from 4% in 2014 to 16% in 2015 (p < 0.001) among K. pneumoniae. P. aeruginosa increased (p = 0.002), but resistance to anti-pseudomonal antimicrobials decreased from 2013 to 2015. High rates of multi-drug resistance were observed in A. baumanni (> 70%).

Conclusion: This study describes the magnitude of antimicrobial resistance in KwaZulu-Natal and provides a South African perspective on antimicrobial resistance in the global priority pathogen list, signalling the need for initiation or enhancement of antimicrobial stewardship and infection control measures locally.


antimicrobial resistance; Antimicrobial resistance surveillance; ESKAPE pathogens; pathogen surveillance


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Crossref Citations

1. ESKAPE Pathogens: Looking at Clp ATPases as Potential Drug Targets
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Antibiotics  vol: 11  issue: 9  first page: 1218  year: 2022  
doi: 10.3390/antibiotics11091218