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BackgroundTo combat antimicrobial resistance, the World Health Organization developed a global priority pathogen list of antibiotic-resistant bacteria for prioritisation of research and development of new, effective antibiotics.ObjectiveThis study describes a five-year resistance trend analysis of the ESKAPE pathogens: Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterobacter spp., from Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa.MethodsThis retrospective study used National Health Laboratory Services data on 64 502 ESKAPE organisms isolated between 2011 and 2015. Susceptibility trends were ascertained from minimum inhibitory concentrations and interpreted using Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute guidelines.ResultsS. aureus was most frequently isolated (n = 24, 495, 38%), followed by K. pneumoniae (n = 14, 282, 22%). Decreasing rates of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (28% to 18%, p < 0.001) and increasing rates of extended spectrum beta-lactamase producing K. pneumoniae (54% to 65% p < 0.001) were observed. Carbapenem resistance among K. pneumoniae and Enterobacter spp. was less than 6% during 2011-2014, but increased from 4% in 2014 to 16% in 2015 (p < 0.001) among K. pneumoniae. P. aeruginosa increased (p = 0.002), but resistance to anti-pseudomonal antimicrobials decreased from 2013 to 2015. High rates of multi-drug resistance were observed in A. baumanni (> 70%).ConclusionThis study describes the magnitude of antimicrobial resistance in KwaZulu-Natal and provides a South African perspective on antimicrobial resistance in the global priority pathogen list, signalling the need for initiation or enhancement of antimicrobial stewardship and infection control measures locally.

Original publication





African journal of laboratory medicine

Publication Date





Department of Medical Microbiology, School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences, Antimicrobial Research Unit, University of KwaZulu-Natal, National Health Laboratory Services, Durban, South Africa.