A Ben Hassen

Faculty of Medecine of Tunis, Tunis-Ville, Tūnis, Tunisia

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Publications (121)181.7 Total impact

  • Arij Mechergui, Wafa Achour, Assia Ben Hassen
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    ABSTRACT: We aimed to compare accuracy of genus and species level identification of Neisseria spp. using biochemical testing and 16S rRNA sequence analysis. These methods were evaluated using 85 Neisseria spp. clinical isolates initially identified to the genus level by conventional biochemical tests and API NH system (Bio-Mérieux(®)). In 34 % (29/85), more than one possibility was given by 16S rRNA sequence analysis. In 6 % (5/85), one of the possibilities offered by 16S rRNA gene sequencing, agreed with the result given by biochemical testing. In 4 % (3/85), the same species was given by both methods. 16S rRNA gene sequencing results did not correlate well with biochemical tests.
    World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology (Formerly MIRCEN Journal of Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology) 03/2014; · 1.35 Impact Factor
  • Arij Mechergui, Wafa Achour, Assia Ben Hassen
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    ABSTRACT: In the present work, nearly the entire 16S rRNA gene sequences of 46 clinical samples of Neisseria spp. were determined, and the aligned sequences were analyzed to investigate the diversity of 16S rRNA genes in each commensal Neisseria species. Two 16S rRNA types were identified in two Neisseria sicca strains, three 16S rRNA types in five Neisseria macacae strains, fourteen 16S rRNA types in twenty Neisseria flavescens isolates, and fourteen 16S rRNA types in nineteen Neisseria mucosa isolates. The number of nucleotides that were different between 16S rRNA sequences within specie ranged from 1 to 15. We found high intraspecific sequence variation in 16S rRNA genes of Neisseria spp. strains.
    Apmis 09/2013; · 2.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neisseria mucosa, a Gram-negative diplococcus, is part of normal nasopharyngeal flora. We report a case of bacteremia caused by N. mucosa in a 50-year-old neutropenic patient suffering from non-secretory multiple myeloma stage IIIA. This case underscores that mostly nonpathogenic N. mucosa can cause bacteremia in neutropenic patients who developed mucositis after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.
    Apmis 07/2013; · 2.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Multilocus sequence typing and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis were used to type 22 commensal isolates of Neisseria perflava collected by swabbing from neutropenic patients. High genetic diversity was found among our N. perflava clinical isolates.
    Apmis 12/2012; · 2.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: The objectives of this study were to compare some virulence factors’ presence and determine of phylogenetic groups of commensal and infectious Escherichia coli strains in neutropenic patients. Methods: Two hundred twenty-eight nonrepetitive E. coli strains isolated between January 2003 and December 2008 mainly from feces and urine from neutropenic patients were studied. Six virulence factors (Intimin, enterohemolysin, Shiga-like toxin, siderophore, enterotoxin, and adhesin) were detected by amplifying the corresponding genes (eaeA, ehxA, stx, iutA, ast1, and aaf/I) from DNA by polymerase chain reaction. The phylogenetic group to which the E. coli strains belonged was determined by a polymerase chain reaction–based method for strains hosting virulence genes. Results: Eighty strains, among the 228 strains, carried 1 or more virulence genes, including 59 commensal strains and 21 infectious strains. The statistical study showed no significant difference in the distribution of these genes between commensal and infectious strains. As far as the strains carrying the concerned virulence genes (80 isolates), 35% were of group A, 29% were of group D, 27% were of group B1, and 9% were of group B2. B2 and D groups were significantly more frequent among infectious strains. Phylogenetic group B2 isolates were the most sensitive to antibiotics, whereas resistance to quinolones and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole was higher among phylogenetic group A strains. Conclusions: Our study showed that there was no significant difference in the distribution of the studied virulence genes between commensal and infectious strains. Phylogenetic groups D and B2 were more frequent among infectious strains, and resistance to quinolones and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole was higher among phylogenetic group A strains.
    Infectious Disease in Clinical Practice 11/2012; 20(6):p 384–389.
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    ABSTRACT: Staphylococcus epidermidis is a leading cause of hospital-acquired infections, mostly associated with the use of medical devices in immunocompromised patients. It originates from the patient's own skin flora, which is subject to severe changes as a result of selective pressure exerted by the hospital environment. This notion led us to compare S. epidermidis isolates from catheter related infections (CRI), non-catheter related bacteremia (NCRB) and catheter hub cultures (commensal isolates). The collection comprised 47 CRI strains from the Bone Marrow Transplant Centre of Tunis, 25 NCRB strains and 25 commensal isolates from patients hospitalized in the same center. Antimicrobial resistance and virulence-associated genes (icaABC, aap, atlE, bhp, fbe, embp, and IS256), polysaccharide intercellular adhesin synthesis, and biofilm formation were investigated. The clonal relationship of strains was investigated by pulsed field gel electrophoresis. Whereas bhp, atlE, fbe, embp, and aap were almost ubiquitously amplified, resistance to oxacillin, kanamycin, tobramycin, gentamicin, cotrimoxazole, and fosfomycin, biofilm production, ica genes, and IS256 were significantly more frequent in invasive (CRI and NCRB strains) than in commensal strains. Moreover, strong biofilm production was significantly more frequent among CRI strains than in NCRB strains. In conclusion, when S. epidermidis is isolated from blood cultures, the detection of strong biofilm production may be significant with regard to judging whether the detected strain is an etiologic agent of CRI.
    Apmis 08/2012; 120(8):605-11. · 2.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT:   This study was designed to isolate Shigella spp. strains from food and stool samples by a combination of PCR and culture methods and characterize their serotypes, antibiotic resistance profiles, virulence genes and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns to investigate possible clonal relationships amongst strains circulating.   Six Shigella spp. strains were isolated from 280 food samples against 16 Shigella isolates from 236 stool samples of symptomatic patients and asymptomatic food handlers during the period from January 2007 to December 2009 in Public Health Regional Laboratory of Nabeul. The detection of ipaH, ipaBCD, ial, ShET-1 and ShET-2 was performed by a PCR technique with specific primers.   The use of PCR technique improved the rate of detecting Shigella in stool samples from 6·7 to 14% and in food samples from 2·1 to 8·6%. Percentage of Shigella isolates and ipaH-specific PCR demonstrated a marked pattern of seasonality, increasing in summer and fall seasons for human and food isolates. Amongst the environmental strains, 50% of isolates were invasive. However, for the 16 clinical strains isolated, nine were found to be positive for both ial and ipaBCD gene and 11 were found to produce ShET-1 and/or ShET-2. XbaI PFGE analysis revealed the presence of a predominant clone amongst Shigella sonnei strains recovered from different sources circulating in Nabeul, Tunisia, throughout the years 2007-2009.   This study demonstrated the existence of Shigella in food samples and dispersion of different virulence genes amongst these isolates, which appear to constitute an environmental source of epidemic spread. The clonal relationships amongst strains isolated from food elements and human stools indicate the incrimination of different kinds of foods as vehicle of transmission of Shigella, which are usually escaped from detection by traditional culture methods.
    Journal of Applied Microbiology 04/2012; 113(1):209-22. · 2.20 Impact Factor
  • Mohamed Amine Mekni, Wafa Achour, Assia Ben Hassen
    Annals of Vascular Surgery 04/2012; 26(3):445. · 0.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Deinococcus radiodurans R1 is one of the most resistant bacteria to chronic ionizing radiation ever identified. Therefore, Deinococcus radiodurans shows promise in the bioremediation of mixed radioactive wastes. Nuclear wastes have been demonstrated to host bacteria containing genes for antimicrobial production (Bagwell et al. PloS ONE 3:e3878, 2008; Bai et al. Chem Biol 13:387–397, 2006; Phillips et al. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 52:933–938, 2002), which may represent a constraint on the bioremediation potential of Deinococcus radiodurans. In this context, the aim of this work is to investigate the antimicrobial susceptibility of D. radiodurans through in silico and in vitro approaches. In silico, we initiated our analyses by retrieving genes that are predicted to confer to D. radiodurans resistance to antimicrobials based on the Antibiotic Resistance Genes Database (ARDB), the Rapid Annotations using Subsystems Technology (RAST), and the automatic hierarchical classification of proteins (ProtoNet) servers. Among 19 retrieved sequences of D. radiodurans, six genes were functionally re-annotated as antimicrobial resistance genes, and only two genes were found to possess the radiation/desiccation response motif (RDRM). In vitro, we found that D. radiodurans is sensitive to 40 tested antimicrobials, and it was resistant to one macrolide (spiramycin) and to three quinolones (ofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, and nalidixic acid). The resistance of D. radiodurans to these quinolones was discussed based on different possibilities. Moreover, in silico analyses indicated that the investigated 19 genes of D. radiodurans from ARDB, RAST, and ProtoNet encode translatable messenger ribonucleic acids (mRNAs) related to resistance to antimicrobials. These data together with the antibiograms of D. radiodurans represent a suggestive evidence that the majority of these genes encode non-functional proteins or belong to inefficient biochemical pathways. The susceptibility of D. radiodurans to these antimicrobials limits its potential for bioremediation of nuclear waste and further genetic engineering is needed depending on the site to be depolluted.
    Annals of Microbiology 01/2012; · 1.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Thirty-seven Salmonella enterica isolates obtained from poultry meat in Tunisia were included in this study for characterization of antibiotic resistance mechanisms. High percentages of resistance were detected to ampicillin, sulfonamides, tetracycline, nalidixic acid, and streptomycin (32.4%-89.2%), and lower percentages to amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, kanamycin, amikacin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazol, and chloramphenicol (2.7%-18.9%). All strains showed susceptibility to ceftazidime, cefotaxime, gentamicin, and ciprofloxacin. Class 1 integrons were detected in 30% of Salmonella isolates, and four different gene cassette arrangements were detected, including genes implicated in resistance to aminoglycosides (aadA1 and aadA2) and trimethoprim (dfrA1). Four different Pc variants (PcW, PcH1, PcH1(TTN-10), PcW(TGN-10)) with inactive P2 have been found among these isolates. Integron-positive isolates were ascribed to eight different serotypes. A Salmonella Schwarzengrund isolate harbored a new class 1 integron containing the qacH-dfrA1b-aadA1b-catB2 gene cassette arrangement, with the very unusual PcH1(TTN-10) promoter, which has been registered in GenBank (accession no. HQ874651). Different plasmid replicon types were demonstrated among integron-positive isolates: IncI1 (8 isolates), IncN (8), IncP (2), IncFIB (2), and IncFII (2). Ten different pulsed-field gel electrophoresis profiles were detected among the 11 integron-positive isolates and 8 different sequence types were identified by multilocus sequence typing, one of them (registered as ST867) was new, detected in 3 Salmonella Zanzibar isolates. A high diversity of clones is observed among poultry Salmonella isolates and a high proportion of them show a multiresistant phenotype with very diverse mobile genetic structures that could be implicated in bacterial dissemination in different environments.
    Vector borne and zoonotic diseases (Larchmont, N.Y.) 09/2011; 12(1):10-6. · 2.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Staphylococcus haemolyticus is one of the most clinically relevant coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS), particularly in immunocompromised patients; however, little is known regarding its molecular epidemiology. In this work, we characterized the genetic background and the SCCmec region of 36 methicillin-resistant S. haemolyticus (MRSHae) and 10 methicillin-susceptible S. haemolyticus (MSSHae) collected from neutropenic patients in Tunisia between 2002 and 2004. The molecular characterization of MRSHae by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) showed that the great majority of the isolates (77.8%) belonged to only four types. SCCmec typing by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Southern hybridization showed that isolates belonging to each PFGE type could carry either one or two SCCmec types. SCCmec V was the most common, but mec complex C was frequently associated to ccr allotypes other than ccrC. The mec complex class C was predominant in MRSHae (47%) and ccrC was predominant among both methicillin-resistant and -susceptible isolates (31 and 50%, respectively). Interestingly, one half (50%) of the MRSHae isolates analyzed lacked the known ccr complexes (ccrAB and ccrC), although they carried the mecA. Conversely, all MSSHae carrying a ccrC complex were multidrug-resistant, although they lack the mecA. The results suggest that ccrC and mec complex C are frequent and may exist autonomously and independently of SCCmec type V in S. haemolyticus. Moreover, the data obtained suggest that small chromosomal rearrangements promoting the loss or structural variation of mec and ccr complex appear to occur frequently, which probably provide S. haemolyticus with a specialized means for SCCmec trapping and/or diversification.
    European Journal of Clinical Microbiology 08/2011; 31(4):605-14. · 3.02 Impact Factor
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    O Bouchami, W Achour, M A Mekni, J Rolo, A Ben Hassen
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    ABSTRACT: Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of antibiotic resistance genes as well as staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) typing and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) of SmaI macrorestriction fragments of genomic DNA were used to characterize 45 methicillin-resistant coagulase-negative staphylococci (MRCoNS) isolates responsible of bacteremia recovered in patients at the Bone Marrow Transplant Centre of Tunisia in 1998-2007. Among the 45 MRCoNS isolates, Staphylococcus epidermidis was the most prevalent species (75.6%) followed by Staphylococcus haemolyticus (22.2%) and Staphylococcus hominis (2.2%). Extended susceptibility profiles were generated for MRCoNS against 16 antimicrobial agents. Out of 45 mecA-positive strains, 43 (95.6%) were phenotypically methicillin-resistant and two (4.4%) were methicillin-susceptible. The msr(A) was the most prevalent gene (13 isolates; 48.1%) among erythromycin-resistant isolates. The erm(C) was found alone in seven (25.9%) or in combination with both erm(A) and erm(B) in two (7.4%) isolates. The aac(6')-Ie-aph(2″)-Ia was the most prevalent gene among aminoglycoside-resistant isolates, detected alone in 14 isolates (33.3%) isolates, in combination with ant(4')-Ia in 18 (42.8%) isolates, in combination with aph(3')-IIIa in four (9.5%) or with both ant(4')-Ia and aph(3')-IIIa in two (4.7%) isolates. The ant(4')-Ia was detected in three (7.1%) isolates and the aph(3')-IIIa in one (2.4%) isolate. Among tetracycline-resistant isolates, six (85.7%) strains harbored the tet(K) gene and one (14.3%) strain carried tet(K) and tet(M) genes. SCCmec types IV (31%) and III (24.5%), the most prevalent types detected, were found to be more resistant to non-β-lactam antibiotics. A wide diversity of isolates was observed by PFGE among MRCoNS.
    Folia Microbiologica 03/2011; 56(2):122-30. · 0.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Candida albicans is the most important cause of fungal infections in intensive care units. The aim of this work was to compare the profiles of C. albicans in order to specify their genetic polymorphism and to determine the origin of these infections. Thirty-five C. albicans strains were collected from different clinical samples of 12 patients and three health-workers in an intensive care unit (ICU) in Rabta hospital of Tunisia, between August 2007 and April 2008. After digestion with BssHII, the isolates were typed by pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). The PFGE profiles were analyzed using a visual method, which showed three PFGE types (A, B and C) and the dendrogram generated three clusters (clusters I to III). An average similarity coefficient of 0.83, suggests that isolates are related.
    Annales de biologie clinique 01/2011; 69(3):289-94. · 0.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We aimed to determine the frequency and the molecular basis of β-lactams resistance in a total of 44 commensal Neisseria strains. Bacterial identification was performed using standard biochemical tests. Genetic diversity of penA gene was studied by penA fingerprinting. Commensal Neisseria strains were represented essentially by Neisseria subflava biovar perflava (75%). Four strains (9%) were β-lactamase producers and had the blaTEM gene. TEM-type β-lactamase was characterized by blaTEM gene sequencing. PenA fingerprinting gave 32 patterns with MspI and 19 patterns with TaqI. Our strains presented an important frequency of β-lactamase production as well as a high rate of reduced susceptibility to β- lactams with an extensive genetic diversity in the penA gene polymorphism.
    Annals of Microbiology 01/2011; 61:695-697. · 1.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The antimicrobial resistance phenotype and genotype, the flanking regions of sulphonamide resistance genes and the integrons were analyzed in 166 Escherichia coli isolates recovered from poultry meat in Tunisia. High percentages of resistance were detected to ampicillin, streptomycin, nalidixic acid, sulphonamide and tetracycline (66-95%), and lower percentages to gentamicin, amoxicillin-clavulanic acid and cefoxitin (1-4%). The bla(TEM), tet(A)/tet(B), aph(3')-Ia, aac(6')-Ib-cr, aac(3)-II and cmlA genes were identified in 92, 82, 29, 2, 2 and 7 isolates, respectively. Class 1 and/or class 2 integrons were detected in 52% of E. coli isolates and five different gene cassette arrangements were identified in the variable regions of class 1 integrons, which included antimicrobial resistance determinants. Sixty-eight isolates contained the sul1 gene and 37 of them presented this gene into a class 1 integron structure. The sul3 gene was detected associated with non-classic class 1 integrons in 4 out of 46 sul3-positive isolates. The sul2 gene was detected in 66 isolates, 51 of them were linked to strA/B genes in seven different genetic structures. Seventy-three-per-cent of integron-positive isolates presented resistance to at least five different antimicrobial families versus 38.7% of integron-negative isolates. Our study highlights the role of commensal E. coli isolates from poultry meat as an important reservoir for sulphonamide resistance genes and integrons carrying antimicrobial resistance genes.
    International journal of food microbiology 01/2011; 144(3):497-502. · 3.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus hominis (MRSHo) are important human pathogens in immunocompromised patients. However, little is known regarding its population structure and staphylococcal chromosomal cassette mec (SCCmec) content. To assess the population structure and the SCCmec content of S. hominis, 34 MRSHo and 11 methicillin-susceptible S. hominis (MSSHo) from neutropenic patients collected over a 3-year period were studied. The genetic backgrounds of S. hominis isolates were analyzed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and SCCmec types were determined by PCR. Cassette chromosome recombinases (ccr) were characterized by PCR and ccrB sequencing. The 34 S. hominis isolates were classified into as many as 28 types and 32 subtypes (SID = 99.82%); clonal dissemination was occasionally observed. The main SCCmec structures identified were SCCmec type VI (4B) (20%), SCCmec VIII (4A) (15%), and a new SCCmec composed of mec complex A in association with ccrAB1 (38%); 27% of the isolates harbored non-typeable SCCmec. Overall, a high prevalence of mec complex A (73.5%), ccrAB1 (50%) and ccrAB4 (44%) were found. Importantly, ccrB1 and ccrB4 from both MRSHo and MSSHo showed a high nucleotide sequence homology with those found in S. aureus SCCmec I, VI and VIII respectively (>95%). The S. hominis population showed a limited clonality and a low genetic diversity in the allotypes of ccr and classes of mec complex. Moreover, our data suggest that S. hominis might have been a privileged source of mec complex A, ccrB1 and ccrB4, for the assembly of primordial SCCmec types.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(7):e21940. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ecthyma gangrenosum (EG) manifests as a skin lesion affecting patients suffering extreme neutropenia and is commonly associated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa in immunocompromised patients. Leukocyte adhesion deficiency I (LAD I) which count among primary immunodeficiency syndromes of the innate immunity, is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized in its severe phenotype by a complete defect in CD18 expression on neutrophils, delayed cord separation, chronic skin ulcers mainly due to recurrent bacterial and fungal infections, leucocytosis with high numbers of circulating neutrophils and an accumulation of abnormally low number of neutrophils at sites of infection. We report at our knowledge the first case of a child affected by LAD-1, who experienced during her disease course a multi-bacterial and fungal EG lesion caused by fusarium solani. Despite targeted antibiotics and anti-fungi therapy, the lesion extended for as long as 18 months and only massive granulocytes pockets transfusions in association with G-CSF had the capacity to cure this lesion. We propose that granulocytes pockets transfusions will be beneficial to heal EG especially in severely immunocompromised patients.
    BMC Dermatology 10/2010; 10:10.
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    ABSTRACT: Specific microbiologic, molecular, and serologic assays are hardly available in Tunis to confirm a suspected infection of Mycoplasma pneumoniae (MP). These diagnosis methods were used for the first time in a Tunisian prospective study to estimate the prevalence of MP infection in children and to evaluate their usefulness for diagnosis. A total of 540 children hospitalized in Tunis for lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) between 2005 and 2009 and 580 clinical specimens were investigated for the presence of MP by culture and by end-point polymerase chain reaction (PCR) targeting the P1 and the 16S rRNA genes. Real-time PCR was also used for MP detection on 158 respiratory samples. A total of 525 serum samples were tested for detection of MP-specific IgM and IgG. The P1 adhesin type and the antibiotic susceptibility testing were determined for the 9 clinical strains isolated during the study period. MP was detected in 33 (5.7%) clinical samples. Specific MP seropositivity was confirmed in 54 serum samples (10.3%), among which 19 (3.6%) were indicative of acute MP infection. MP infection was confirmed in 39 (7.2%) patients: 24 positive by PCR and/or culture, 10 serologically positive only, and 5 confirmed positive by both methods. MP infections occurred throughout the year with a slight decrease in autumn. The 9 MP isolates were susceptible to erythromycin, tetracycline, and ciprofloxacin, and all belonged to type I. The prevalence of MP infection in children with LRTI was 7.2% between 2005 and 2009, in Tunisia. Combination of direct detection and serology was required to enhance the clinical sensitivity of MP detection in clinical specimens.
    Diagnostic microbiology and infectious disease 10/2010; 68(2):103-9. · 2.45 Impact Factor
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    Journal of chemotherapy (Florence, Italy) 02/2010; 22(1):66-7. · 0.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objectif Le but de cette étude était de comparer des isolats cliniques de Candida tropicalis afin de déterminer leur polymorphisme génétique. Patients Les isolats de C. tropicalis ont été collectés pendant une période de sept mois (août 2007–avril 2008) à partir de patients hospitalisés dans une unité de réanimation de l’hôpital La Rabta en Tunisie. Matériels et méthodes Tous les isolats de C. tropicalis collectés des patients hospitalisés dans cette unité ont été typés par la technique d’électrophorèse en champ pulsé (PFGE). Résultats Durand cette période, 15 patients se sont avérés positifs pour C. tropicalis et 34 isolats ont été collectés. Parmi ces 34 isolats, 29 appartenaient au même pulsotype A (avec trois sous-types A1, A2, A3), alors que deux isolats appartenaient au pulsotype B et trois au pulsotype C. Conclusion La majorité des isolats appartenaient au même pulsotype (85 %) mais le sous-type A1 était le plus représenté par rapport aux sous-types A2 et A3.
    Journal De Mycologie Medicale - J MYCOLOGIE MEDICALE. 01/2010; 20(3):169-173.

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644 Citations
181.70 Total Impact Points

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Institutions

  • 2013
    • Faculty of Medecine of Tunis
      Tunis-Ville, Tūnis, Tunisia
  • 2009–2011
    • Ecole Nationale de Médecine Vétérinaire
      Tunis-Ville, Tūnis, Tunisia
    • Université Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2
      • Institut de Santé Publique d'Epidémiologie et de Développement (ISPED)
      Burdeos, Aquitaine, France
  • 1989–1999
    • Hôpital Charles-Nicolle
      Tunis-Ville, Tūnis, Tunisia
  • 1996
    • Faculté des Sciences de Tunis
      Tunis-Ville, Tūnis, Tunisia