Molecular detection of carbapenemase-producing genes in referral Enterobacteriaceae in South Africa: A short report
Molecular confirmation of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) was introduced in South Africa (SA) at the end of 2011. We report on the detection of these resistance genes based on referral isolates. Enterobacteriaceae with non-susceptibility to any of the carbapenems according to defined criteria for antimicrobial susceptibility testing results were sent to a reference laboratory. A proportion of isolates had limited demographic, epidemiological and clinical data available. Organism identification was reconfirmed using reference laboratory methods, and the presence of carbapenemases was confirmed with a real-time polymerase chain reaction. We analysed 1 503 significant isolates received for confirmation from the National Health Laboratory Service and some private laboratories during 2012 - 2015 and confirmed one or more carbapenemase-producing genes in 68% of isolates, the most common organism being Klebsiella pneumoniae (60%). The most common carbapenemase genes were blaNDM, followed by blaOXA-48 and its variants. BlaOXA-48 and its variants demonstrated non-susceptibility to ertapenem in 89% of the isolates when analysed by the phenotypic method, and to ceftazidime in 34%. Overall, the detection rate for carbapenemases in K. pneumoniae blood isolates in the public sector was 1.9% during the 4-year period. This report indicates the presence of CPE in SA, and it is important for all healthcare workers to be aware of this major public health threat so that infection prevention and control measures can be implemented to prevent the spread of CPE in healthcare facilities.