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Prevalence of Acanthamoeba and superbugs in a clinical setting: coincidence or hyperparasitism?

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Antibacterial strategies to eradicate superbugs from hospitals/nursing homes have had limited success, suggesting the need for employing innovative preventative measures and better understanding of the prevalence of microbial pathogens in close proximity of susceptible populations. A total of 120 environmental samples were collected from the Aga Khan University hospital. Amoebae were identified using morphological characteristics as well as PCR using genus-specific primers, while bacteria were identified using standard biochemical testing. Out of 120 samples tested, 52 (43.3 %) samples were positive for Acanthamoeba, while all 120 (100 %) samples were positive for bacteria. Following bacterial identification, samples showed mixed bacterial populations. Out of 120 samples, 76 (63.3 %) samples were positive for Bacillus spp., 64 (53.3 %) samples were positive for Corynebacterium spp., 32 (26.6 %) samples were positive for Staphylococcus spp., and 9 (7.5 %) samples were positive for Micrococcus spp. The antibiotic susceptibility showed that all bacterial isolates recovered were multiple drug-resistant. The current findings suggest that Acanthamoeba and bacteria coexist in a clinical environment. Given that Acanthamoeba can harbor bacteria, anti-amoebic approaches may represent a strategy in eradicating “superbugs” from the clinical setting in addition to the current measures.

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The authors are grateful for the kind support provided by The Aga Khan University, Pakistan.

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Correspondence to Naveed Ahmed Khan.

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Siddiqui, R., Sagheer, M. & Khan, N.A. Prevalence of Acanthamoeba and superbugs in a clinical setting: coincidence or hyperparasitism?. Parasitol Res 112, 1349–1351 (2013).

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