Beta-lactam resistance among Enterobacteriaceae in Cambodia: The four-year itch

Int J Infect Dis. 2018 Jan;66:74-79. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2017.10.025. Epub 2017 Nov 11.


Although antibiotics are too often used inappropriately in Cambodia, published data on antimicrobial resistance in this country are scarce. Epidemic dissemination and the transfer of resistance genes to other bacterial species put the population at risk. The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency and characteristics of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteriaceae (ESBL-E) isolated in consecutive samples tested at Institut Pasteur du Cambodge over a 4-year period (2012-2015). Antimicrobial susceptibility testing was performed by disk diffusion on agar technique and the results were read automatically using an OSIRIS system. The Etest was used to determine minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) for some resistance phenotypes. The strain most commonly identified was Escherichia coli (63.9%). The proportion of ESBL-E increased gradually over the study period, from 23.8% to 38.4%. ESBL was detected in 42.7% of the E. coli strains and 33.7% of all Klebsiella pneumoniae isolated. The proportion of ESBL-producing E. coli increased significantly from 28.9% in 2012 to 48.2% in 2015, while the increase for K. pneumoniae remained non-significant. Multidrug resistance was high in this Cambodian series, with some strains displaying resistance to all antibiotics available in the country. There is currently no established system for the surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in Cambodia. Collecting samples from clinical settings throughout the country is critical to assess the impact of antimicrobial drug use in patients in Cambodia and in the Mekong Region.

Keywords: Antimicrobial resistance; Cambodia; Escherichia coli; Extended-spectrum-beta-lactamases; Klebsiella pneumoniae; Public health issue.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cambodia
  • Disk Diffusion Antimicrobial Tests
  • Enterobacteriaceae / drug effects*
  • Enterobacteriaceae / enzymology
  • Enterobacteriaceae Infections / microbiology
  • Escherichia coli / enzymology
  • Escherichia coli / isolation & purification
  • Escherichia coli Infections / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / enzymology
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / isolation & purification
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • beta-Lactam Resistance*
  • beta-Lactamases / genetics
  • beta-Lactamases / metabolism
  • beta-Lactams / pharmacology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • beta-Lactams
  • beta-Lactamases