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Study Finds Widespread Transmission of Resistant Bacteria in Vietnam Hospitals

A study using whole-genome sequencing to track three drug-resistant bacteria in two intensive care units in Vietnam is presented in The Lancet Microbe this week, revealing frequent transmission of these pathogens and highlighting the need for antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance in the country. Low- and middle-income nations frequently have high rates of AMR, often due to excessive use of antimicrobials in human and animal populations, but little capacity for genomic surveillance. In this week's report, a team led by scientists from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory undertook a prospective surveillance study of all adults admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) at two hospitals in Hanoi between mid-2017 and early 2018, characterizing and sequencing both clinical and environmental samples. The researchers find widespread transmission of highly drug-resistant Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Acinetobacter baumannii within and between the two ICU settings. Clusters of closely related isolates in patients across both ICUs were also identified, suggesting recent transmission before ICU admission in other health-care settings or in the community. "Further work is required to expand genomic surveillance in hospital and community settings to inform AMR control strategies in Vietnam," the study's authors write.