AIM: To investigate the profile of common uropathogens isolated from urine specimens submitted to the diagnostic microbiology laboratory at a tertiary teaching hospital and assess their antimicrobial susceptibility patterns to commonly used antimicrobial agents.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis of laboratory reports for all urine specimens submitted for investigations over a 1-year period. Isolates were tested by means of the Kirby-Bauer disc diffusion method for susceptibility to amoxicillin, ciprofloxacin, gentamicin, co-trimoxazole and nitrofurantoin, and for extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) production.
RESULTS: Out of the total specimens (N =2 203) received over the 1-year study period, 51.1% (1 126) of the urine samples were culture-positive, the majority (65.4%) having come from females. The most common isolate was Escherichia coli (39.0%) followed by Klebsiella species (20.8%) and Enterococcus faecalis (8.2%). The Gram-negative isolates displayed a very high level of resistance to amoxicillin (range 43 - 100%) and co-trimoxazole (range 29 - 90%), whereas resistance to gentamicin (range 0 - 50%) and ciprofloxacin (range 0 - 33%) was lower. E. coli isolates were susceptible to nitrofurantoin (94%), and ESBL production was significantly higher (p=0.01) in the hospital isolates, compared with those from the community referral sites.
CONCLUSIONS: The culture-positive rate for uropathogens was high, with a greater incidence among females. E. coli was the most common aetiological agent identified, and remained susceptible to nitrofurantoin. Resistance levels to amoxicillin and co-trimoxazole were very high for all Gram-negative isolates, and it is recommended that these antibiotics should not be used for the empiric treatment of urinary tract infections.