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Antibiotic Susceptibility Profile of Airborne Bacteria Isolated from Surgical and Labour Theatres of Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki

This study was designed to determine the prevalence and antibiotic susceptibility profile of airborne bacteria isolated from general surgical and labour theatres in Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (FETHA), Ebonyi State, Nigeria. Forty (40) air samples were collected using settle plate method. Airborne bacterial isolates were identified and characterized using standard microbiological techniques. Antibiotic susceptibility profile was determined using Kirby-Bauer disc diffusion technique. Gram-negative bacterial isolates were phenotypically confirmed for ESBL production using the double disc synergy test.

Staphylococcus aureus isolates were also screened for methicillin-resistant strains (MRSA) using oxacillin screening agar. S. aureus (100%), Coagulase-negative Staphylococci (65%), Bacillus spp. (62.5%), Micrococcus spp. (40.0%), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (22.5%), Klebsiella spp. (20.0%), Streptococcus spp. (17.5%), and Acinetobacter spp. (17.5%) were isolated from the air samples of the two theatres. Gram-negative bacterial isolates were also screened for extended-spectrum betalactamase (ESBL) production. Antibiotic susceptibility tests showed that isolates were highly resistant to trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (100%), penicillin (100%), ampicillin (100%), oxacillin (67%), and clindamycin (50%), but susceptible to ticarcillin (100%), tobramycin (100%), erythromycin (80%), and norfloxacin (71%).

There was no statistically significant difference in the antibiotic resistance and susceptibility frequencies of isolates in the surgical and labour theatres (P<0.05). Exactly 30 (75%) of the Staphylococcus aureus isolates were identified as methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), while 17 Gram-negative bacterial isolates (2 Acinetobacter spp., 7 Klebsiella spp., and 8 P. aeruginosa) were ESBLpositive. Generally, bacterial isolates were multi-drug resistant. The presence of airborne bacterial isolates in surgical and theatre wards might indicate that sterilization techniques employed in the disinfection of these critical hospital areas are not efficient enough. This can put patients at risk of post-operative infections. Therefore, hospital environment requires special attention to ensure good indoor air quality for patients and healthcare workers which will greatly help to curtail nosocomial infections.


Iroha IR, Okpada JO, Moses IB*, Onuora AL, Kalu AC, Nwakaeze EA, Ani SE, Mohammed I, Agbom JN and Okorie CC 

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