Project Details

Early Career

Status: Funded - Open

Molecular Epidemiology of ESBL-Producing Enterobacterales Isolated in Pregnant Women and Neonates

Luria Founou, PhD


BACKGROUND: In 2016, 30% of global neonatal sepsis mortality was triggered by antibiotic resistant bacteria, especially extended-spectrum β-lactamase producing Enterobacterales (ESBL-E), with prevalence being elevated in sub-Saharan African countries like Cameroon. GAP: The Every Newborn Action Plan aims for countries to have ≤12 neonatal deaths by 2030. The increasing rate of ESBL-E worldwide is thus alarming in clinical practice as it might exacerbate the burden and fatal outcome of severe sepsis in young infants, especially in low-and middle-income countries. HYPOTHESIS: We postulate that maternal ESBL-E colonization coupled with limited antenatal care, sub-optimal hygiene and sanitation are important predictors for neonatal ESBL-E infections in Cameroon. Maternal colonization of ESBL-E is an unheeded threat for neonatal health that is certainly being underestimated in the absence advanced molecular epidemiological studies. METHODS: We propose to conduct a retrospective and prospective observational genomic epidemiology study in mother-neonate dyads in Yaounde, Cameroon. Putative ESBL-E colony originating from recto-vaginal and nasopharyngeal swabs, and matching specific inclusion criteria will be selected for whole genome sequencing analyses. RESULTS: None to date. IMPACT: The project will contribute to (i) raise awareness about the threat of ESBL-E for neonates, and (ii) tailor antibiotic therapy of neonatal sepsis. It will further provide evidence to (i) implement screening of ESBL-E in pregnant women and (high-risk) neonates at birth, contributing thereby to diminution of neonatal sepsis and mortality due to ESBL-E; (ii) de-escalate sustainably excessive use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, and (iii) strengthen stringent infection, prevention and control measures in Cameroon. Website Link(s):