African Journal of
Microbiology Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Microbiol. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0808
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJMR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 5210

Full Length Research Paper

Treatment guidelines and nosocomial infections: The South African experience

Essack, S. Y.1 and Connolly, C.2
1School of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, University of Kwazulu-Natal, Private Bag X54001, Durban, 4000, South Africa. 2Biostatistics Unit, Medical Research Council, P. O. Box 70380, Overport, 4067, South Africa.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 22 August 2011
  •  Published: 30 September 2011


Nationally-devised standard treatment guidelines (STGs) for nosocomial infections were evaluated in the context of antibiotic resistance within the public health care system in Kwazulu-Natal. A multi-centre surveillance study instituted in 3 hospitals at 3 progressive levels of health care (district, regional and tertiary) collected consecutive, non-repetitive isolates commonly implicated in nosocomial infections as cited by the STGs, viz.,Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa andAcinetobacter spp. Isolates were subjected to susceptibility testing against antibiotics recommended in the treatment guidelines as empirical treatment for nosocomial infections using the Kirby Bauer disc diffusion method advocated by the CLSI. Percentage susceptibility across (1) bacterial species, (2) antibiotics and (3) hospital levels was compared. Susceptibility to antibiotics recommended in the treatment guidelines and hence potentially successful empiric therapy ranged from 5 to 95% with multi-resistance evident in all isolates. Statistically significant differences in overall susceptibility were observed (1) across bacterial species, (2) within 2 of the 3 bacterial species for different antibiotics and; (3) across hospital levels for 2 antibiotics with p values <0.001 for across bacterial species, (1), ranging from 0.003 to <0.001 for within 2 of the 3 bacterial species for different antibiotics (2) and ranging from 0.001 to <0.001 for across hospital levels for 2 antibiotics (3). This study showed that the success of empiric therapy as dictated by treatment guidelines would vary depending upon the bacterial species, the antibiotic used and the hospital, thus making a strong case for institution-specific guidelines based on evidence from well-executed surveillance.


Key words: Treatment guidelines, nosocomial infections, antibiotic resistance.