Bacteraemia and mortality among adult medical admissions in Malawi--predominance of non-typhi salmonellae and Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Gordon MA, Walsh AL, Chaponda M, Soko D, Mbvwinji M, Molyneux ME, Gordon SB.

J Infect. 2001 Jan;42(1):44-9. doi: 10.1053/jinf.2000.0779.

OBJECTIVES: The high seroprevalence of HIV in Malawi might be expected to alter the pattern of pathogens isolated from bacteraemic patients. We aimed to describe the frequency and seasonal pattern of bacterial isolates from blood, their antibiotic susceptibility, and patient outcome, in order to provide data on which to base empirical antibiotic therapy and further studies of pathogenesis. METHODS: Over a 12-month period, blood cultures were taken from all febrile adult medical admissions to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre. RESULTS: A total of 2789 out of 9298 adult general medical admissions had blood culture performed, of whom 449 (16.1%) grew significant pathogens. Non-typhi salmonellae (NTS) (37%) and Streptococcus pneumoniae (30%) were the two commonest isolates. Mortality was 18% among general medical admissions and 38% among bacteraemic patients. Mortality for individual pathogens was: NTS 33%; S. pneumoniae 36%; Escherichia coli 54%; Klebsiella spp. 58%; Neisseria meningitidis 44%; Salmonella typhi 17%. Despite an overwhelming association between the major pathogens and HIV infection (95% of S. pneumoniae cases and 92% of NTS cases were seropositive for HIV), a seasonal pattern was preserved. Streptococcus pneumoniae was more frequently isolated in the cold dry months, while STM isolates increased following a rise in temperature. A case of bacteraemia with Vibrio cholerae (serotype 01) was detected during a cholera outbreak in the rainy season. Although S. pneumoniae isolates were relatively susceptible to penicillin (88%) and chloramphenicol (74%), S. typhimurium isolates were fully susceptible only to chloramphenicol. CONCLUSIONS: This large study confirms the dominance of NTS and S. pneumoniae in bacteraemia in an area affected by HIV-1 and allows comparison of mortality by individual pathogens. It demonstrates a preserved seasonal pattern of bacteraemia for these major pathogens, despite an overwhelming association with HIV infection.

PMID: 11243753

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.