About Research Area

The Research Microbiology Lab. covers the broad spectrum of infectious diseases. Isolating, identifying and carrying out antimicrobial sensitivity testing on a wide range of pathogens found in enteric, central nervous diseases, zoonoses, respiratory and nosocommial infections.

Importance of The Microbiology Research Group

Microbiology is the backbone of diagnostic work in infectious diseases but also provides a strong basis for research work looking at things like the trends of bacterial infection, the source and transmission of infection, antimicrobial resistance patterns, trends and mode of resistance. Antimicrobial resistance is one of the biggest problems in infectious disease in Viet Nam as the numbers of antimicrobials doctors can use to treat infections are decreasing rapidly. Worldwide work done here in Viet Nam is of great scientific value and is regularly cited throughout the medical/scientific world.

In the VIZIONs project the team are providing training in microbiology in four provincial hospitals and introducing new methods and techniques increasing the diagnostic potential of these provincial hospitals. Along with that training has been given to two provincial Sub department of Animal Health and one Regional Animal Health Microbiology Department. The specimen collection and storage for this extremely large and complex is also being handled by the micro. Lab. Baseline surveys on Salmonella, Camplyobacter and antimicrobial resistance, the first studies of this kind done in Viet Nam were carried out through this project.

We have also carried out parasitic projects including a large fasciola study in Quang Ngai. We were able to diagnose the first case of amoebic meningitis, caused by Nagleri fowleri and this was published in the Lancet.

The group are actively involved in training of microbiology in four provincial hospital labs and three animal health labs. This has been trough the VIZIONS project to help build up the capacity and standard of microbiology in these locations.

Our Researchers

Jim Campbell Research Microbiologist 1999

Nguyen Minh Van Hoang Senior Research Assistant 1997

Nguyen Thanh Vinh Technician 2001

Tran Thi Thu Nga Research Assistant 2002

Cao Thu Thuy Research Assistant 2006

Pham Van Minh Technician 2006

Nguyen Thi Song Chau Technician 2011

Vo Kim Phuong Linh Technician 2012

These people contribute to a team effort and everyone plays a vital part in the work done in Research Microbiology

What we are doing to improve outcomes in this field

Patients in the adult intensive care unit benefit from the continuous surveillance of respiratory infections and have a fast and accurate diagnosis. The antimicrobial therapies are based on the results of testing in the research micro. The lab gives a speedy turn round for isolation, identification and antimicrobial testing allowing the patient to be put on the best antimicrobial as soon as possible aiding the recovery of these patients. We are also embarking on two projects in this location. The Ventilator Pneumonia study looking at the cause and treatment of ventilator associated pneumonia in severely ill patients. The second is to study the carriage and transfer within the ward of possible pathogenic bacteria along with looking at their antimicrobial susceptibilities.

In other fields we complement and help the HTD Micro Lab in diagnostic work helping to find a diagnosis and suitable treatment regime.

Our research work is varied and includes diarrheal diseases in children and adults, VIZIONS based microbiology, carrying out baseline studies in chickens ducks and pigs looking at incidence of Salmoella spp, Campylobacter spp and antimicrobial resistance in these species, Pneumocystis carinii incidence in HIV/AIDS patients, antimicrobial resistance in the broad spectrum of pathogenic bacteria, skin lesions HIV/Aids patients, parasitic meningitis and CNS infections. We are attempting to see if the treatment of fungal CNS infections can be monitored using live/dead ratios.

Our research locations and collaborations

Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Ho Chi Minh City

Ministry of Health

National Hospital of Tropical Diseases

National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology

Patan Hospital, Kathmandu Nepal

Dong Thap Provincial Hospital

Hue Central General Hospital

Khanh Hoa General Provincial Hospital

Dak Lak General Provincial Hospital

Regional Animal Health laboratory (RAHO) 5, Dak Lak

Sub-department of Animal Health (Tien Giang)

Sub-Department of Animal Health (Dong Thap)


Vien le TM, Minh NN, Thuong TC, Khuong HD, Nga TV, Thompson C, Campbell JI, de Jong M, Farrar JJ, Schultsz C, van Doorn HR, Baker S. The co-selection of fluoroquinolone resistance genes in the gut flora of Vietnamese children. PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e42919. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042919. Epub 2012 Aug 24. PubMed PMID: 22937000; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3427306.

Parry CM, Vinh H, Chinh NT, Wain J, Campbell JI, Hien TT, Farrar JJ, Baker S. The influence of reduced susceptibility to fluoroquinolones in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi on the clinical response to ofloxacin therapy. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2011 Jun;5(6):e1163. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0001163. Epub 2011 Jun 21. PubMed PMID: 21713025; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3119645.

Vien le TM, Abuoun M, Morrison V, Thomson N, Campbell JI, Woodward MJ, Van Vinh Chau N, Farrar J, Schultsz C, Baker S. Differential phenotypic and genotypic characteristics of qnrS1-harboring plasmids carried by hospital and community commensal enterobacteria. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2011 Apr;55(4):1798-802. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01200-10. Epub 2011 Jan 31. PubMed PMID: 21282449; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3067134.

Holt KE, Dolecek C, Chau TT, Duy PT, La TT, Hoang NV, Nga TV, Campbell JI, Manh BH, Vinh Chau NV, Hien TT, Farrar J, Dougan G, Baker S. Temporal fluctuation of multidrug resistant salmonella typhi haplotypes in the mekong river delta region of Vietnam. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2011 Jan 4;5(1):e929. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0000929. PubMed PMID: 21245916; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3014949.

Hoa NT, Chieu TT, Nghia HD, Mai NT, Anh PH, Wolbers M, Baker S, Campbell JI, Chau NV, Hien TT, Farrar J, Schultsz C. The antimicrobial resistance patterns and associated determinants in Streptococcus suis isolated from humans in southern Vietnam, 1997-2008. BMC Infect Dis. 2011 Jan 6;11:6. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-11-6. PubMed PMID: 21208459; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3022717.

Parry CM, Thuy CT, Dongol S, Karkey A, Vinh H, Chinh NT, Duy PT, Thieu Nga TV, Campbell JI, Van Minh Hoang N, Arjyal A, Bhutta ZA, Bhattacharya SK, Agtini MD, Dong B, Canh do G, Naheed A, Wain J, Tinh Hien T, Basnyat B, Ochiai L,

Clemens J, Farrar JJ, Dolecek C, Baker S. Suitable disk antimicrobial susceptibility breakpoints defining Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi isolates with reduced susceptibility to fluoroquinolones. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2010 Dec;54(12):5201-8. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00963-10. Epub 2010 Sep 13. PubMed PMID: 20837759; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2981260.

Nguyen NT, Ha V, Tran NV, Stabler R, Pham DT, Le TM, van Doorn HR, Cerdeo-Trraga A, Thomson N, Campbell J, Nguyen VM, Tran TT, Pham MV, Cao TT, Wren B, Farrar J, Baker S. The sudden dominance of blaCTX-M harbouring plasmids in Shigella spp. Circulating in Southern Vietnam. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2010 Jun 8;4(6):e702. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0000702. PubMed PMID: 20544028; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2882334.

Le TM, Baker S, Le TP, Le TP, Cao TT, Tran TT, Nguyen VM, Campbell JI, Lam MY, Nguyen TH, Nguyen VV, Farrar J, Schultsz C. High prevalence of plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance determinants in commensal members of the Enterobacteriaceae in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. J Med Microbiol. 2009 Dec;58(Pt 12):1585-92. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.010033-0. Epub 2009 Aug 20. PubMed PMID: 19696153; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2884939.

Campbell JI, Lam TM, Huynh TL, To SD, Tran TT, Nguyen VM, Le TS, Nguyen vV, Parry C, Farrar JJ, Tran TH, Baker S. Microbiologic characterization and antimicrobial susceptibility of Clostridium tetani isolated from wounds of patients with clinically diagnosed tetanus. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2009 May;80(5):827-31. PubMed PMID: 19407132.

Vinh H, Baker S, Campbell J, Hoang NV, Loan HT, Chinh MT, Anh VT, Diep TS, Phuong le T, Schultsz C, Farrar J. Rapid emergence of third generation cephalosporin resistant Shigella spp. in Southern Vietnam. J Med Microbiol. 2009 Feb;58(Pt 2):281-3. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.002949-0. PubMed PMID: 19141753.

Carrique-Mas, J. J., Bryant, J. E., Cuong, N. V., Hoang, N. V., Campbell, J., Hoang, N. V., Dung, T. T., Duy, D. T. Hoa, N. T., Thompson, C., Hien, V. V., Phat, V. V., Farrar, J., Baker, S. (2013). An epidemiological investigation of Campylobacter in pig and poultry farms in the Mekong delta of Vietnam. Epidemiol Infect Sep 25: 1-12. PMID 26067502

J Carrique-Mas, Nguyen V. Trung, Ngo T. Hoa, H. Huynh Mai, Tuyen H. Thanh, James I. Campbell, Jaap A. Wagenaar, Anita Hardon, Thai Quoc Hieu, Constance Schultsz. Antimicrobial usage in chickens farming in Vietnam in the Mekong delta of Vietnam. Zoonoses & Publ Health (in press).

Day JN, Hoang TN, Duong AV, Hong CT, Diep PT, Campbell JI, et al. Most cases of cryptococcal meningitis in HIV-uninfected patients in Vietnam are due to a distinct amplified fragment length polymorphism-defined cluster of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii VN1. J Clin Microbiol. 2011 Feb;49(2):658-64. PMID: 21159929