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Pathogenic bacteria dissemination by ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in two hospitals in northeast Brazil

Pathogenic bacteria dissemination by ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in two hospitals in northeast Brazil

Neotropical Entomology 39(4): 655-663

Nosocomial infections bring a high risk to the health of hospital patients and employees. Ants are common organisms in Brazilian hospitals, where they can act as dispersers of opportunistic microorganisms in places they forage. The occurrence of multi-resistant bacteria carried by ants was analyzed in two public hospitals (HA and FIB) in southeastern Bahia, Brazil. In these two hospitals 132 workers belonging to three ant species were collected. The bacteria associated to these ants were identified and their susceptibility to antibiotics was evaluated. More than half (57.3%) of ants collected in HA were associated with some kind of bacteria, with 26.7% of them being opportunist bacteria, while 84,2% of the ants from HB presented associated bacteria growth, with 61.4% of them being opportunist bacteria. Twenty four species of bacteria were isolated. The Gram-positive bacilli of the genus Bacillus were the most frequent, followed by the Gram-positive cocci, Gram-negative bacilli (family Enterobacteriaceae) and Gram-negative non-fermenters bacilli. The profile of sensitivity of the bacterial isolates to drugs pointed out the existence of multi-resistant isolates carried by ants. For the first time, are reported cases of the same bacterial resistant isolates taken form homospecific ant workers that point out the importance of ants to bacteria dissemination and proliferation in a hospital. Our results suggest that the risk of contamination presented by these ants is similar to the one of any other mechanical vector of bacterial dissemination.

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Accession: 037453024

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PMID: 20878006

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