Success of an infection control program to reduce the spread of carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2009 May;30(5):447-52. doi: 10.1086/596734.


Objective: To assess the effect of enhanced infection control measures with screening for gastrointestinal colonization on limiting the spread of carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae in a New York City hospital endemic for this pathogen.

Design: Retrospective observational study with pre- and postinterventional phases.

Methods: Beginning in 2006, a comprehensive infection control program was instituted in a 10-bed medical and surgical intensive care unit at a university-based medical center. In addition to being placed in contact isolation, all patients colonized or infected with carbapenem-resistant gram-negative bacilli, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus were cohorted to one end of the unit. Improved decontamination of hands and environmental surfaces was encouraged. In addition, routine rectal surveillance cultures were screened for the presence of carbapenem-resistant pathogens. The number of patients per quarter with clinical cultures positive for carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae was compared during the approximately 2-year periods before and after the intervention.

Results: The mean number (+/-SD) of new patients per 1,000 patient-days per quarter with cultures yielding carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae decreased from 9.7 +/- 2.2 before the intervention to 3.7 +/- 1.6 after the intervention (P < .001). There was no change in the mean number of patient-days or the mean number of patients per quarter with cultures yielding methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, or carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii or Pseudomonas aeruginosa after the intervention. There was no association between antibiotic usage patterns and carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae.

Conclusions: The comprehensive intervention that combined intensified infection control measures with routine rectal surveillance cultures was helpful in reducing the incidence of carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae in an intensive care unit where strains producing the carbapenemase KPC were endemic.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Carbapenems / pharmacology*
  • Culture Media
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Hospitals, Urban
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infection Control / methods*
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Klebsiella Infections* / epidemiology
  • Klebsiella Infections* / prevention & control
  • Klebsiella Infections* / transmission
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / drug effects*
  • New York City
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Program Evaluation*
  • Rectum / microbiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Carbapenems
  • Culture Media