High rate of antimicrobial resistance and multiple mutations in the dihydrofolate reductase gene among Streptococcus pneumoniae isolated from HIV-infected adults in a community setting in Tanzania

J Glob Antimicrob Resist. 2020 Sep;22:749-753. doi: 10.1016/j.jgar.2020.06.026. Epub 2020 Jul 9.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to characterize molecular mechanisms of resistance to trimethoprim and other antibiotics in Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates from HIV-infected adults in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Methods: A total of 1877 nasopharyngeal swabs were collected and screened for pneumococcal colonization from 537 newly diagnosed individuals with HIV at four clinic visits during a 1-year follow-up from 2017-2018 as part of the randomized clinical trial CoTrimResist (ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT03087890).

Results: A total of 76 pneumococcal isolates were obtained. Of the 70 isolates that could be serotyped, 42 (60.0%) were vaccine serotypes included in pneumococcal conjugate vaccine 23 (PCV23). The majority of isolates (73.7%; 56/76) were non-susceptible to penicillin (MICs of 0.06-2μg/mL). Isolates were frequently resistant to co-trimoxazole (trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole) (71.1%) but less so to azithromycin (22.4%), erythromycin (21.1%), chloramphenicol (18.4%), tetracycline (14.5%), clindamycin (10.5%) and levofloxacin (0%). Moreover, 26.3% were multidrug-resistant (resistant to ≥3 antibiotic classes). Vaccine-type pneumococci were resistant to more classes of antibiotics, were more frequently resistant to erythromycin, azithromycin, clindamycin and tetracycline, and had higher MICs to penicillin (median, 0.19μg/mL; range, 0.002-1.5μg/mL) compared with non-vaccine serotypes (median, 0.125μg/mL; range, 0.012-0.25μg/mL) (P=0.003). Co-trimoxazole-resistant isolates carried from 1 to 11 different mutations in the dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) gene, most commonly Ile100Leu (100%), Glu20Asp (91.8%), Glu94Asp (61.2%), Leu135Phe (57.1%), His26Tyr (53.1%), Asp92Ala (53.1%) and His120Gln (53.1%).

Conclusion: Streptococcus pneumoniae isolated from HIV-diagnosed patients were frequently non-susceptible to penicillin and co-trimoxazole. Most isolates carried multiple mutations in DHFR.

Keywords: Antimicrobial resistance; Dihydrofolate reductase; HIV; Streptococcus pneumoniae; Tanzania.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03087890