Oral Antibiotic Therapy May Select for Common Opportunistic Pathogens Responsible for Nosocomial Infections

This study by Raplee, et al. (2021) aims to confirm gut microbiota shifts in an animal model of antibiotic treatment to determine whether antibiotic use favors pathogenic bacteria.

The researchers utilized next-generation sequencing and in-house metagenomic assembly and taxonomic assignment pipelines on the fecal microbiota of a urinary tract infection mouse model with and without antibiotic treatment.

Antibiotic therapy decreased the number of detectable species of bacteria by at least 20-fold. Furthermore, the gut microbiota of antibiotic treated mice had a significant increase of opportunistic pathogens that have been implicated in nosocomial infections, like Acinetobacter calcoaceticus/baumannii complex, Chlamydia abortus, Bacteroides fragilis, and Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron. Moreover, antibiotic treatment selected for antibiotic resistant gene enriched subpopulations for many of these opportunistic pathogens.

Oral antibiotic therapy may select for common opportunistic pathogens responsible for nosocomial infections. In this study opportunistic pathogens present after antibiotic therapy harbored more antibiotic resistant genes than populations of opportunistic pathogens before treatment. The researchers say their results demonstrate the effects of antibiotic therapy on induced dysbiosis and expansion of opportunistic pathogen populations and antibiotic resistant subpopulations of those pathogens. Follow-up studies with larger samples sizes and potentially controlled clinical investigations should be performed to confirm their findings, they add.

Reference: Raplee I, Walker L, et al. Emergence of nosocomial associated opportunistic pathogens in the gut microbiome after antibiotic treatment. Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control. Vol. 10, No. 36. 2021.

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