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Project : Screening for mobile Genetic elements in multidrug-resistant strains from diarrheal and invasive infections caused by gram negative bacteria in Kenya

Duration of the project

Starting date : October 2007
Ending date : September 2011

Operational Direction

Bacterial Diseases

Operational Unit

General Bacteriology, antiobiotic resistance inlcuded

Role of CODA-CERVA in this project

Promotor 2


Management of diarrhoeal epidemics and nosocomial infections caused by multidrugresistant strains is of concern in Africa. The role of mobile genetic elements such as transposons and integrons in the emergence and spread of multidrugresistant strains in East Africa is poorly understood. We hypothesize that mobile genetic elements are heavily implicated in drug resistance, that they occur in local diarrheal and invasive strains and that E coli strains may act as reservoirs for the multidrugresistant genes.


In this project we study the resistance phenotypes in diarrheic strains and those isolated from other clinical samples isolated over a period of over 20 years (1990-2011) in the East African region and the horn of Africa in order to determining trends in prevalence of resistance phenotypes. In these resistant strains we will determine the eventual presence of integrons, transposons and conjugative plasmids. The genetic relatedness among these strains will also be determined, since this information may form a basis for vaccine development. Finally, we will also determine the role of faecal E. coli and other non-pathogenic bacteria as reservoirs of mobile genetic elements encoding antibiotic-resistance.


Scientist responsible for this project


  • John N Kiiru (Doctorant)

External parnters

  • Professor BM Goddeeris (KULeuven) (promotor)
  • Dr. Sam Kariuki (KEMRI, Kenya)

Source of funding