A multi centre laboratory study of Gram negative bacterial blood stream infections in Sri Lanka

Ceylon Med J. 2013 Jun;58(2):56-61. doi: 10.4038/cmj.v58i2.5680.


Introduction: Data on causative agents and antibiotic susceptibility patterns of blood stream infections in Sri Lanka is scarce. Information on trends of antibiotic resistance is necessary for the prescribers to treat patients effectively and policy makers to develop policies and guidelines.

Objectives: To lay the foundation for a national data base on antimicrobial resistance in Sri Lanka.

Methods: A prospective study was carried out in seven hospitals to study the Gram negative aetiological agents and their susceptibility patterns in patients suspected of having bacteraemia. We reviewed 817 patients with clinically significant blood cultures including both adults and children.

Results: Data were complete for analysis in 733 Gram negative isolates only. Of the 733 isolates, 488 were from adults (> 12 years), 109 were from children (1-12 years) and 136 were from infants (<1 year). Intensive care units represented 18.4% of the isolates (123 adult patients and 27 paediatric patients). The highest number of isolates (33.7%) was from patients with septicaemia of unknown origin. Enteric fever, pyelonephritis and respiratory tract infections accounted for 20% of the isolates. Bacteraemia with underline malignancies were responsible for 24.5% of infections. Salmonella paratyphi A was the commonest cause of enteric fever in adults with 92% resistance to ciprofloxacin. The prevalence of extended spectrum beta lactamase (ESBL) producing Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae was high in this study population.

Conclusions: It is essential to introduce multidisciplinary interventions to reduce the inappropriate use of antibiotics to increase the lifespan of precious antibiotics. Introduction of a National antibiotic policy with strict implementation and a well-planned stewardship programme is essential to control antimicrobial resistance in our country.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacteremia
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sri Lanka
  • beta-Lactamases*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • beta-Lactamases