Environmental surveillance and in vitro activity of antimicrobial agents againstLegionella pneumophilaisolated from hospital water systems in Campania, South Italy: a 5-year study

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Background:Legionellosis’ treatment failures have been recently reported showing the possibility of resistance development to traditional therapy, especially in healthcare related disease cases. Environmental impact of antibiotic residues, especially in hospital waters, may act on the resistome of Legionella resulting in developing resistance mechanisms.Objectives:In this study we investigate the antibiotic susceptibility of environmental Legionella pneumophila (Lpn) strains isolated from hospital water systems in Campania, a region located in Southwest Italy.Methods:5321 hospital water samples were investigated for the presence of Lpn. Among positive samples, antibiotic susceptibility was tested for a random subset of 125 Lpn strains (25 Lpn isolates from each of the following serogroups: 1, 3, 5, 6, 8).Susceptibility testing was performed, using the E-test on buffered charcoal yeast extract agar supplemented with α-ketoglutarate, for 10 antimicrobial drugs: azithromycin, cefotaxime, clarithromycin, doxycycline, erythromycin, rifampicin, tigecycline, ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin and moxifloxacin. Non parametric tests were used to determine and assess the significant differences in susceptibility to the different antimicrobics between the serogroups.Results:Among the isolated strains, none showed resistance to the antibiotics tested. Rifampicin was the most active antibiotic against overall Legionella strains, followed by levofloxacin. Between the macrolides the clarithromycin was overall the most active drug, instead the azithromycin was the less active. Analyzing the different serogroups a significant difference was found between serogroup 1 and non-1 serogroup isolates for doxycycline and tigecycline.Conclusions:Antibiotic susceptibility of environmental isolates of Legionella spp. might be useful for the early detection of resistance to antibiotics that directly impacts on mortality and length of hospital stay.HighlightsNone of the Legionella strains isolated showed resistance to the antibiotics tested.Rifampicin was the most active antibiotic against all Legionella strains isolated.All Legionella strains inhibited by low concentrations of macrolides and fluoroquinolones.

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