Secondary bacterial and fungal infections in critically ill COVID‐19 patients: Impact on antimicrobial resistance

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, Egypt

2 Chest Department, Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, Egypt


Background: The primary burden among severely ill COVID-19 cases allocated to ICUs is secondary bacterial and fungal infections. Antimicrobial resistance is aggravated more likely by empiric overusing of antimicrobials. This study aimed to assess the microbiological profile of fungal and bacterial superinfections in laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases and their antimicrobial susceptibility pattern. Methods: Various clinical samples were obtained from 117 critically ill COVID-19 patients in the clinical suspicion of secondary infections for assessing the pathogens accountable for the superinfections and their antimicrobial susceptibility pattern according to standard microbiological procedures. Results: Among 117 COVID-19 patients allocated to ICU, 68 (58%) had secondary infections. The most prevalent infection was of the lower respiratory tract. Most infections were bacterial 85.8%. Gram-negative isolates were the most predominant strains, accounting for 71.7%. among them, Klebsiella pneumoniae 43.4 % and Acinetobacter baumannii 20.7% were the most predominant. Majority of the bacterial strains were multidrug-resistant, all gram-negative strains showed one hundred percent resistance rate to cephalosporins, amoxicillin, and amoxicillin-clavulanic. The lowest resistance was observed for tigecycline. All gram-positive strains were susceptible to linezolid and vancomycin. Additionally, all candida isolates were susceptible to the tested antifungals. Conclusions: In hospitalized severely ill COVID-19 patients, secondary infections are most frequently caused by Gram-negative pathogens exhibiting high rate of antibiotic resistance and are associated with poor outcomes. Strict adherence to infection control measures as well as regular microbiological surveillance are required.


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