ANNALS OF PLASTIC SURGERY, vol.47, no.1, pp.70-73, 2001 (SCI-Expanded)
The rate of infectious complications of leech therapy is almost 20% because Hirudo medicinalis has endosymbiotic bacteria. The aim of this study was to determine the bacterial flora of H. medicinalis and their antibiotic sensitivities in a region in Turkey. Sixteen adult leeches were collected in Middle Black Sea region, Turkey. They were rubbed onto blood agar plates directly under ether anesthesia to obtain surface cultures. They were then killed to obtain mouth and gut cultures. Culture swabs were applied to blood agar, eosin methylene blue agar, and ampicillin blood agar plates. Gut contents were applied to blood culture medium as well. Bacteria were isolated in 15 of 16 leech surfaces, in 7 of 16 mouths, and in 15 of 16 guts. Isolated bacteria were identified with Analytical Profile Index 32 E and Analytical Profile Index 20 NE (fermentative and nonfermentative respectively). Most common types of cultured bacteria were Aeromonas hydrophila (N = 25), Ochrobacter anthropi (N = 23), nonfermenting Gram-negative rods (N = 12), Acinetobacter Iwoffi (N = 3), and A. sobria (N = 2) in 73 isolates. A standard disk diffusion test was performed on isolated bacteria. All isolates were 100% susceptible to ciprofloxacin, cefotaxime, ceftazidime, gentamicin, and tri-methoprim/sulfamethoxazole. Because leeches are carriers of Aeromonas and other bacteria, appropriate antibiotic prophylaxis should be administrated to the patient who needs leech therapy. Antibacterial agents can be determined by the resistance pattern of the bacterial flora of regional H. medicinalis.