Characterise the Microbial community structure and the spread of antimicrobial resistance and biofilm on the intensive care units

Khalid Johani 1, Danya Abualsaud 2, Honghua Hu 1, Karen Vickery 1

Macquarie University, Macquarie Park, NSW, Australia

Molecular Laboratory, Medical Microbiology, King Fahad Armed Forces Hospital, Jeedah, Saudi Arabia


Healthcare associated infections are a significant burden on health service providers, in terms of cost, morbidity and mortality. Organisms causing these infections can be sourced from the inanimate environment around patients.
95 surface swab samples and 20 destructive samples were collected from high-touch objects guided by Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) bioluminometer swabs at different intensive care units in King Fahad Armed Forces Hospital, Saudi Arabia.
Each surface swab sample was obtained with sterile swabs from approximately 100 cm2 surface area. were sonicated in tryptone soya broth and inoculated onto enrichment media. chromogenic plates were used to demonstrate MROs.
DNA was extracted from swabs using the High Pure PCR Template Preparation Kit. Quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) of 16s rRNA gene was used to quantify the total number of bacteria. Bacterial species and abundance present in each sample was determined by microbial community sequencing based on 16s rRNA gene.
Destructive samples (n=20) were collected from different items to observe the presence of biofilm.

Surface swabs from 79 sites were culture-positive; 16 sites contained multidrug-resistant organisms. ATP testing of the ICU surfaces was notably associated with qPCR. Whereas 37% sites were low contaminated, 39% median contaminated and 24% high contaminated.
Microbial community sequencing identified 48 different genera including extremely pathogenic bacteria.
The presence of biofilm was determined in 14/20 items by CLSM and SEM.
Bacterial biofilms and MDROs were found on ICU surfaces despite regular cleaning. How these arise and how they might be removed requires further study.

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