Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Enterococcus and Streptococcus spp. associated with chronic and self-medicated urinary tract infections in Vietnam

Louise Ladefoged Poulsen1, Magne Bisgaard1, Nguyen Thai Son2, Nguyen Vu Trung3, Hoang Manh An2 and Anders Dalsgaard1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Groennegaardsvej 15 DK-1870, Frederiksberg C, Denmark

2 Hospital 103, Military Medical University, Ha Dong, Hanoi, Vietnam

3 Department of Medical Microbiology, Hanoi Medical University, Hanoi, Vietnam

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2012, 12:320  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-320

Published: 23 November 2012



Urinary tract infections (UTI) are one of the most common infections among women worldwide. E. coli often causes more than 75% of acute uncomplicated UTI, however, little is known about how recurrent UTIs and indiscriminate use of antimicrobials affect the aetiology of UTIs. This study aimed to establish the aetiology of UTI in a population of recurrent and self-medicated patients referred from pharmacies to a hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam and to describe genotypes and antimicrobial susceptibility of the associated bacterial pathogens. The aetiology of bacterial pathogens associated with UTI (defined as ≥ 104 CFU/ml urine) was established by phenotypic and molecular methods. Enterococcus faecalis isolates were typed by Multi Locus Sequence Typing (MLST), Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) and antimicrobial susceptibility testing.


Urine samples from 276 patients suffering symptoms of urinary tract infection were collected and cultured on Flexicult agar® allowing for detection of the most common urine pathogens. Patients were interviewed about underlying diseases, duration of symptoms, earlier episodes of UTI, number of episodes diagnosed by doctors and treatment in relation to UTI. All tentative E. faecalis and E. faecium isolates were identified to species level by PCR, 16S rRNA and partial sequencing of the groEL gene. E. faecalis isolates were further characterized by Multi Locus Sequence Typing and antimicrobial susceptibility testing.


Mean age of 49 patients was 48 yrs (range was 11–86 yrs) and included 94% women. On average, patients reported to have suffered from UTI for 348 days (range 3 days-10 years, and experienced 2.7 UTIs during the previous year). Cephalosporins were reported the second drug of choice in treatment of UTI at the hospital. E. faecalis (55.1%), E. coli (12.2%) and Streptococcus gallolyticus subsp. pasteurianus (8.2%) were main bacterial pathogens. MIC testing of E. faecalis showed susceptibility to ampicillin, penicillin and vancomycin, but high-level resistance against gentamicin (48.1%). MLST revealed 12 Sequence Types (ST) of which ST 16 made up 44.5% and showed closely related PFGE types.


The different aetiology of UTI compared with reports elsewhere, where E. coli dominates, may be a result of chronic and recurrent UTIs together with indiscriminate use of antimicrobials. The similar genotypes shown by epidemiologically unrelated ST 16 isolates in Vietnam and elsewhere, suggest that E. faecalis ST 16 might represent a globally distributed clone. Treatment of UTI with cephalosporins may select for E. faecalis as it is intrinsic resistant and further studies are needed to establish the source(s) and role of E. faecalis ST 16 in acute UTI.