Objectives: To describe the molecular epidemiology of carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae in Brooklyn, NY and assess the in vitro activity of various antibiotic combinations.
Methods: Clinical isolates with suspected carbapenem resistance were referred to the central research laboratory from August 2003 to June 2004. Isolates underwent MIC testing, ribotyping, and were analysed for the presence of KPC carbapenemases. Time-kill studies using various antibiotic(s) were performed on selected isolates.
Results: Ninety-six isolates were referred from 10 Brooklyn hospitals. All isolates were resistant to the carbapenems with most having MICs >32 mg/L. Few were susceptible to fluoroquinolones and cephalosporins; approximately half were susceptible to aminoglycosides, and 90% to polymyxin B. Two-thirds were susceptible to doxycycline, and all were considered susceptible to the investigational glycylcycline antibiotic tigecycline. Virtually all possessed bla(KPC), and over 80% belonged to one ribotype. In time-kill studies involving 16 isolates, tigecycline demonstrated bacteriostatic activity and polymyxin B concentration-dependent bactericidal activity. The combination of polymyxin B at 0.5 x MIC plus rifampicin had synergic activity against 15/16 isolates, including two polymyxin-resistant strains. The combination of polymyxin B plus imipenem had synergic bactericidal activity against 10/16 isolates, but was antagonistic for three isolates.
Conclusions: Multiresistant K. pneumoniae with bla(KPC) are present in multiple hospitals in New York City. The most consistently active agents in vitro were tigecycline and polymyxin B, particularly when the latter was combined with rifampicin. The clinical efficacy of these agents remains to be determined.