Cockroaches have been described as potential vectors for various pathogens for decades; although studies from neonatal intensive care units are scarce. Researchers from Ethiopia and the U.S. assessed the vector potential of cockroaches (identified as Blatella germanica) in a neonatal intensive care unit setup in Tikur Anbessa Hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
A total of 400 Blatella germanica roaches were aseptically collected for five consecutive months. Standard laboratory procedures were used to process the samples.
From the external and gut homogenates, Klebsiella oxytoca, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Citrobacter spp. Enterobacter cloacae, Citrobacter diversus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Providencia rettgeri, Klebsiella ozaenae, Enterobacter aeruginosa, Salmonella C1, Non Group A streptococcus, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Acinetobacter spp. and Shigella flexneri were isolated. Multi-drug resistance was seen in all organisms. Resistance to up to all the 12 antimicrobials tested was observed in different pathogens.
The researchers concluded that cockroaches could play a vector role for nosocomial infections in a neonatal intensive care unit and environmental control measures of these vectors is required to reduce the risk of infection. A high level of drug resistance pattern of the isolated pathogens was demonstrated. Their research was published in Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control.
Reference: Tilahun B, et al. High load of multi-drug resistant nosocomial neonatal pathogens carried by cockroaches in a neonatal intensive care unit at Tikur Anbessa specialized hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control 2012, 1:12 doi:10.1186/2047-2994-1-12