Identification and characterization of bacteria isolated from patients with cancer at Enugu State Teaching Hospital Parklane, Enugu, Nigeria

Cancer affects millions of people worldwide and contributes to the highest percentage of global deaths compared to other ailments. Most cancer sites are vulnerable to infection by a vast number of opportunistic pathogens. Data from several surveillance reports have revealed several opportunistic pathogens responsible for infections in cancer patients. The present study investigated the spectrum of bacteria isolated from acute cancer patients. Samples were recovered from urine, vaginal swab, and breast swab. Identification and characterization of the isolates were performed using standard microbiological methods. A total of 130 bacteria comprising 78(60%) gram-positive and 52(40%) gram-negative were recovered. A statistically significant difference (P<0.05) was observed between the two groups. The most prevalent organism was Staphylococcus spp. (42.3%) followed by Escherichia coli (36.2%), Lactobacillus spp. (8.5%), Micrococcus spp. (6.2%), Streptococcus spp. (3.1%), Klebsiella spp. (1.5%), Proteus spp. (1.5%) and Pseudomonas spp. (0.8%). Our findings showed the predominance of gram-positive bacteria in infections among cancer patients. However, Enterobacteriaceae (E. coli) was the most frequently isolated among the gram-negative. This study indicates that cancer patients may be infected by several opportunistic pathogens, highlighting an ongoing trend toward gram-positive organisms causing infection in cancer patients. Therefore, it underscores the importance of constant monitoring at regional levels as surveillance efforts are important to provide the clinicians with the appropriate information in choosing treatment regimens and implement a proper policy for infection control guidelines.

 Okeke Onyekachi Philomena, Dibua Maria-Esther Uju, Ocholi Ephraim Aguda, Nwoko Victor, Mba Ifeanyi Elibe, Ukomadu Joseph Chukwukelu