Scientific letters

The value of blood culture audits at peripheral hospitals

Chris R Kenyon, Geoff Fatti, Neshaad Schrueder, Kim Bonorchis, Graeme Meintjes


Knowledge of local antibiotic sensitivities is crucial to creating appropriate empiric antibiotic guidelines. The new National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) Data Warehouse allows clinicians to access collated spreadsheets of culture isolates and antimicrobial susceptibility patterns for their facilities. We used this service to study the trends in blood culture (BC) results at GF Jooste Hospital from 2005 to 2010. We investigated the BC contamination rate and changes in the antibiotic sensitivity profiles of selected organisms, and estimated the proportion of infections that were hospital-acquired. Over 3000 BCs were performed per year in this period. A very high contamination rate was observed (7 - 9%) in 2005 - 2007, with a gratifying reduction by 2010. Ceftriaxone resistance increased from 16% to 62% in Klebsiella pneumoniae (p<0.0001), and from 33% to 100% in Enterobacter spp. (p=0.053).

Authors' affiliations

Chris R Kenyon, G F Jooste Hospital and Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town

Geoff Fatti, KhethImpilo, Cape Town

Neshaad Schrueder, G F Jooste Hospital and Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town

Kim Bonorchis, Greenpoint Laboratory, National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS), Cape Town

Graeme Meintjes, G F Jooste Hospital, Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine, and Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, and Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, UK

Full Text



Blood culture; contamination rate; Antibiotic resistance; Antibiotic stewardship

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2012;102(4):224-225.

Article History

Date submitted: 2012-02-17
Date published: 2012-03-07

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