Antibiotic Susceptibility Surveillance in the Punjab Province of Pakistan: Findings and Implications

Zikria Saleem*, Abdul Haseeb, Safa S.Almarzoky Abuhussain, Catrin E. Moore, Sairah Hafeez Kamran, Muhammad Usman Qamar, Aisha Azmat, Giuseppe Pichierri, Fahad Raees, Shahzad Asghar, Amna Saeed, Afreenish Amir, Furqan Khurshid Hashmi, Johanna C. Meyer, Israel Abebrese Sefah, Inaam Ur Rehman, Muhammad Umer Nadeem, Brian Godman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Objectives: The increase in antimicrobial resistance (AMR) across countries has seriously impacted the effective management of infectious diseases, with subsequent impact on morbidity, mortality and costs. This includes Pakistan. Antimicrobial surveillance activities should be mandatory to continually assess the extent of multidrug-resistant bacteria and the implications for future empiric prescribing. The objective of this retrospective observational study was to monitor the susceptibility pattern of microbes in Pakistan. Materials and Methods: Clinical samples from seven laboratories in Punjab, Pakistan were collected between January 2018 and April 2019, with Punjab being the most populous province in Pakistan. The isolates were identified and their antimicrobial susceptibility was tested using the Kirby-Bauer disc diffusion assay and micro broth dilution methods. The antibiotics assessed were those typically prescribed in Pakistan. Results: In total, 2523 bacterial cultural reports were studied. The most frequently isolated pathogens were Staphylococcus aureus (866, 34.3%), followed by Escherichia coli (814, 32.2%), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (454, 18.0%) and Klebsiella pneumoniae (269, 10.7%). Most pathogens were isolated from pus (1464, 58.0%), followed by urine (718, 28.5%), blood (164, 6.5%) and sputum (81, 3.2%). Conclusions: The findings suggest that current antimicrobial options are severally restricted in Pakistan due to the emergence of multidrug-resistant pathogens. This calls for urgent actions including initiating antimicrobial stewardship programs to enhance prudent prescribing of antibiotics. This includes agreeing on appropriate empiric therapy as part of agreed guidelines, in line with the WHO EML and AWaRe book, whilst awaiting culture reports. This is alongside other measures to reduce inappropriate antimicrobial prescribing and reverse the threat of rising AMR.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1215
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


  • AWaRe classification
  • Pakistan
  • antimicrobial stewardship programs
  • audits
  • culture and sensitivity
  • national action plans
  • surveillance


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