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Relationship between antibiotic resistance and sickle cell anemia: preliminary evidence from a pediatric carriage study in Ghana

Authors Donkor ES, Foster-Nyarko E, Enweronu-Laryea CC

Received 7 November 2012

Accepted for publication 11 December 2012

Published 29 July 2013 Volume 2013:6 Pages 71—77

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IDR.S40062

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 6


Eric S Donkor,1 Ebenezer Foster-Nyarko,2 Christabel C Enweronu-Laryea3

1Department of Microbiology, University of Ghana Medical School, Accra, Ghana; 2Department of Medical Laboratory Science, School of Allied Health Sciences, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana; 3Department of Child Health, University of Ghana Medical School, Accra, Ghana


Background: Antibiotics are frequently used among people with sickle cell anemia (homozygous SS or HbSS disease), especially for prophylaxis. However, the relationship between antibiotic resistance and people with HbSS disease has not been adequately studied, especially in the developing world. The objectives of the study were (1) to compare antibiotic resistance patterns of nasal Staphylococcus aureus between children with HbSS disease and children without HbSS disease (healthy children) and (2) to evaluate nasopharyngeal carriage of antibiotic-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae among children with HbSS disease.
Methods: This was a prospective cross-sectional study, and the subjects were children under 12 years old. Nasal swabs were collected from 50 children with HbSS disease and 50 children without HbSS disease. Nasopharyngeal swabs were collected from another group of 92 children with HbSS disease. The nasal and nasopharyngeal swabs were cultured for S. aureus and S. pneumoniae, respectively. Susceptibility testing was carried out on the S. aureus and S. pneumoniae isolates for various antibiotics, including penicillin, ampicillin, cefuroxime, erythromycin, cloxacillin, and cotrimoxazole.
Results: The carriage rates of S. aureus among pediatric subjects with HbSS disease and those without HbSS disease were 48% and 50%, respectively (P > 0.05). S. pneumoniae carriage among the pediatric subjects with HbSS disease was 10%. Antibiotic resistance patterns of S. aureus carried by children with HbSS disease and children without HbSS disease were similar, and the S. aureus resistance rates were >40% for the various antibiotics, with the exception of erythromycin and cloxacillin. Low levels of S. pneumoniae resistance (0%–11%) were observed for the various antibiotics tested except cotrimoxazole, which showed an extremely high-percentage resistance (100%).
Conclusion: Sickling status is not a risk factor for carriage of S. aureus. In this cohort of Ghanaian children with HbSS disease, S. aureus is higher in carriage and more antibiotic-resistant, compared to S. pneumoniae.

Keywords: Paediatric, sickle cell anaemia, antibiotic resistance, Ghana

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