Background: The morbidity of Salmonella bloodstream infections is unacceptably high in Africa. In 2000, the WHO Global Salmonella-Surveillance (GSS) program was founded to reduce the health burden of foodborne diseases. The incorporation, in 2002, of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in this program allowed the improvement of laboratory capacities. In this retrospective study, we describe the first signs of impact the GSS program has had in DRC in the management of bacteremia.
Methods: Between 2002 and 2006, we evaluated, in one pediatric hospital, the microbiologic and clinical features of Salmonella isolated from children suspected of having bacteremia. A random selection of isolates was typed by pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE).
Results: Among the 1528 children included in the study, 26.8% were bacteremic. Salmonella accounted for 59% of all bloodstream infections. Salmonella typhimurium (60.5%) and Salmonella enteritidis (22.3%) were the most common Salmonella serotypes. In total, 92.4% were resistant to at least 3 antimicrobials with the following proportion of strains resistant to: ampicillin (86%), chloramphenicol (92%), trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (95%), and tetracycline (34%). In 2002, 32.1% of children received an appropriate empiric antimicrobial treatment. In 2006, with the restoration of the confidence in the results provided by the laboratory, we observed an increase of the proportion of patients appropriately (82.9%) treated with antimicrobials (P < 0.01) without any decrease in the overall mortality rates associated with salmonellae bacteremia.
Conclusions: Our findings indicate the benefit to strengthen laboratory capacities in Africa, allowing the development of management guidelines of bloodstream infection.