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Presence of Gram-negative bacteria and Staphylococcus aureus on the skin of blood donors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

BACKGROUND: Skin bacteria may contaminate blood products but few data are available on sub-Saharan Africa (sSA). We assessed the presence of Gram-negative bacteria and Staphylococcus aureus on blood donor skin and evaluated skin antisepsis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Among blood donors at the National Blood Transfusion Center (NBTC) and at a rural hospital, the antecubital fossa skin of the non-disinfected arm (not used for blood collection) was swabbed (25cm2 surface) and cultured for total and Gram-negative bacterial counts. Bacteria were identified with MALDI-TOF and tested for antibiotic susceptibility by disk diffusion. For evaluation of the NBTC antisepsis procedure (i.e., ethanol 70%), the culture results of the disinfected arm (used for blood collection) were compared with those of the non-disinfected arm. RESULTS: Median total bacterial counts on 161 studied non-disinfected arms were 1065 Colony-Forming Units (CFU) per 25 cm2 , with 43.8% (70/160) of blood donors growing Gram-negative bacteria and 3.8% (6/159) Staphylococcus aureus (2/6 methicillin-resistant). Non-fermentative Gram-negative rods predominated (74/93 isolates, majority Pseudomonas spp., Acinetobacter spp.). Enterobacterales comprised 19/93 isolates (mostly Pantoea spp. and Enterobacter spp.), 5/19 were multidrug-resistant. In only two cases (1.9%, 2/108) the NBTC antisepsis procedure met the acceptance criterion of ≤2 CFU/25 cm2 . CONCLUSION: Skin bacterial counts and species among blood donors in DRC were similar to previously studied Caucasian populations, including cold-tolerating species and bacteria previously described in transfusion reactions. Prevention of contamination (e.g., antisepsis) needs further evaluation and customization to sSA.
ISSN: 0041-1132
Issue: 2
Volume: 63
Pages: 360 - 372
Publication year:2023