BACKGROUND: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen that causes a wide range of acute and chronic infections and is frequently associated with healthcare-associated infections. Because of its ability to rapidly acquire resistance to antibiotics, P. aeruginosa infections are difficult to treat. Alternative strategies, such as a vaccine, are needed to prevent infections. We collected a total of 413 P. aeruginosa isolates from the blood and cerebrospinal fluid of patients from 10 countries located on 4 continents during 2005-2017 and characterized these isolates to inform vaccine development efforts. We determined the diversity and distribution of O antigen and flagellin types and antibiotic susceptibility of the invasive P. aeruginosa. We used an antibody-based agglutination assay and PCR for O antigen typing and PCR for flagellin typing. We determined antibiotic susceptibility using the Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion method.
RESULTS: Of the 413 isolates, 314 (95%) were typed by an antibody-based agglutination assay or PCR (n = 99). Among the 20 serotypes of P. aeruginosa, the most common serotypes were O1, O2, O3, O4, O5, O6, O8, O9, O10 and O11; a vaccine that targets these 10 serotypes would confer protection against more than 80% of invasive P. aeruginosa infections. The most common flagellin type among 386 isolates was FlaB (41%). Resistance to aztreonam (56%) was most common, followed by levofloxacin (42%). We also found that 22% of strains were non-susceptible to meropenem and piperacillin-tazobactam. Ninety-nine (27%) of our collected isolates were resistant to multiple antibiotics. Isolates with FlaA2 flagellin were more commonly multidrug resistant (p = 0.04).
CONCLUSIONS: Vaccines targeting common O antigens and two flagellin antigens, FlaB and FlaA2, would offer an excellent strategy to prevent P. aeruginosa invasive infections.