Emergence of vancomycin-resistant enterococci in South Africa: Implications for public health

  • Frank E. Tatsing Foka Department of Microbiology, School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, North-West University, Mafikeng, South Africa http://orcid.org/0000-0001-6577-2827
  • Ajay Kumar Department of Microbiology, School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, North-West University, Mafikeng, South Africa
  • Collins N. Ateba Department of Microbiology, School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, North-West University, Mafikeng, South Africa
Keywords: antimicrobial resistance, glycopeptide resistance, emerging pathogens

Abstract

South Africa is among the countries with the highest prevalence of debilitating diseases such as HIV/Aids and diabetes. In this context, the emergence of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VREs) in most South African ecological niches is quite disturbing, taking into consideration the fact that therapeutic options in a case of resistant-enterococci infection would be limited. Agricultural practices coupled with the misuse of antibiotics in intensive animal rearing and in hospital facilities have led to the creation of reservoirs of VREs in the environment. VREs can cause serious health problems by transmitting their resistance genes to susceptible pathogens; they are transmitted to humans by direct or indirect contact and through the food chain. We screened thoroughly the AJOL and the PubMed databases for studies on VRE incidence in South Africa. This review gives insight into the current status of antimicrobial resistance management in South Africa; it explores the different pathways involved in the spread of VREs and proposes possible solutions to tackle the issue of VREs and antimicrobial resistance in South Africa and other parts of the world.

Significance:

  • The recent detection of vancomycin-resistant enterococci in most South African ecological niches poses a serious threat to public health and is therefore an issue of great concern.
  • This study not only addresses the causes and patterns of resistance to antimicrobial agents, particularly in South Africa, but also outlines a holistic approach to potential strategies to tackle antimicrobial resistance in South Africa and the world at large.
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Published
2018-09-11