Phenotypic and genotypic correlation of carbapenememase-producing Enterobacteriaceae and problems experienced in routine screening
Background. The emergence and transmission of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) is a concern in both the clinical and public health arenas. Reliable and accurate detection of these organisms is required for patient management and infection prevention and control purposes. In the routine laboratory, phenotypic methods are utilised for identification of CRE.
Objectives. To investigate the phenotypic profiles of suspected carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) isolates generated by the automated MicroScan Walkaway system making use of the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) guidelines, and correlate these with carbapenemase production by molecular methods.
Methods. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing was performed using the MicroScan Walkaway system, and the presence of six carbapenemase genes (blaNDM, blaVIM, blaIMP, blaOXA-48 and variants, blaGES and blaKPC) was screened for using a multiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction.
Results. A total of 2 678 isolates were evaluated. Klebsiella pneumoniae accounted for 62.9% of the isolates (n=1 685), followed by Enterobacter cloacae (n=361, 13.5%). Carbapenemases accounted for 75.2% of isolates; blaOXA-48 and its variants predominated (n=978, 36.5%), followed by blaNDM (n=904, 33.8%), blaVIM (n=108, 4.0%), blaIMP (n=35, 1.3%), blaGES(n=24, 0.9%) and blaKPC (n=18, 0.7 %).
Conclusions. A considerable number of isolates expressing a carbapenemase or carbapenemases (the majority of which were blaOXA-48 producing) were susceptible to third-and fourth-generation cephalosporins and carbapenems, demonstrating that confirmed carbapenemase-producing isolates are not presenting as possible carriers of carbapenemases using routine diagnostic methods. Similar results were obtained when CLSI and European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (EUCAST) clinical breakpoints were applied and are suitable for the purpose of patient management. However, since genotyping assays are costly, it is suggested that routine laboratories first perform comprehensive phenotypic screening for CPE.