The emergence and dissemination of extended spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Gram-negative bacteria is worrisome as this poses a serious threat in patient management, especially among children and the elderly. The cardinal objective of this study was to determine the antibiogram and prevalence of ESBL-producing E. coli and Klebsiella species among paediatric patients in three different healthcare institutions in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State. A total of 422 clinical samples [mid-stream urine (232) and faeces (190)] were collected from paediatric patients. Isolates obtained were characterized and identified using standard microbiological identification techniques. Identified bacterial isolates were phenotypically screened for ESBL-production by double disc synergy test. Antibiogram of ESBL-positive isolates were determined by Kirby-Bauer disc diffusion technique. A total of 74 (66.7 %) bacterial isolates [E. coli (39), Klebsiella species (35)] were obtained from urine samples while 37 (33.3 %) isolates [E. coli (25), Klebsiella species (12)] were recovered from feacal samples. Results showed that 27 (26.1 %) isolates [E. coli (15), Klebsiella species (12)] were confirmed to be ESBL producers. Antibiotic susceptibility test revealed that ESBL-producing E. coli and Klebsiella species were susceptible to meropenem, colistin, ciprofloxacin and gentamicin but exhibited high resistance frequencies to amikacin, kanamycin, tetracycline, sulphamethoxazole/trimethoprim, nitrofurantoin and chloramphenicol. Isolates also exhibited multiple antibiotic resistance index value ranging from 0.3 – 0.8. This study showed that multidrug-resistant ESBL-producing E. coli and Klebsiella species were highly prevalent in paediatric patients in Abakaliki. Thus, antibiotic regulatory policy should be implemented and monitored to curtail the spread of bacterial pathogens in hospitals and communities by highlighting the best-practices, infection control measures, and appropriate choice of empirical antimicrobial therapy for ESBL-infections.
Keywords: ESBL, E. coli, Klebsiella, Antibiotic resistance, Paediatric patients