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, 10 (9), 597-602

Emergence of a New Antibiotic Resistance Mechanism in India, Pakistan, and the UK: A Molecular, Biological, and Epidemiological Study


Emergence of a New Antibiotic Resistance Mechanism in India, Pakistan, and the UK: A Molecular, Biological, and Epidemiological Study

Karthikeyan K Kumarasamy et al. Lancet Infect Dis.


Background: Gram-negative Enterobacteriaceae with resistance to carbapenem conferred by New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase 1 (NDM-1) are potentially a major global health problem. We investigated the prevalence of NDM-1, in multidrug-resistant Enterobacteriaceae in India, Pakistan, and the UK.

Methods: Enterobacteriaceae isolates were studied from two major centres in India--Chennai (south India), Haryana (north India)--and those referred to the UK's national reference laboratory. Antibiotic susceptibilities were assessed, and the presence of the carbapenem resistance gene bla(NDM-1) was established by PCR. Isolates were typed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis of XbaI-restricted genomic DNA. Plasmids were analysed by S1 nuclease digestion and PCR typing. Case data for UK patients were reviewed for evidence of travel and recent admission to hospitals in India or Pakistan.

Findings: We identified 44 isolates with NDM-1 in Chennai, 26 in Haryana, 37 in the UK, and 73 in other sites in India and Pakistan. NDM-1 was mostly found among Escherichia coli (36) and Klebsiella pneumoniae (111), which were highly resistant to all antibiotics except to tigecycline and colistin. K pneumoniae isolates from Haryana were clonal but NDM-1 producers from the UK and Chennai were clonally diverse. Most isolates carried the NDM-1 gene on plasmids: those from UK and Chennai were readily transferable whereas those from Haryana were not conjugative. Many of the UK NDM-1 positive patients had travelled to India or Pakistan within the past year, or had links with these countries.

Interpretation: The potential of NDM-1 to be a worldwide public health problem is great, and co-ordinated international surveillance is needed.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Numbers of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae referred from UK laboratories to the UK Health Protection Agency's national reference laboratory from 2003 to 2009 The predominant gene is blaNDM-1, which was first identified in 2008. The other group includes diverse producers of KPC, OXA-48, IMP, and VIM enzymes.
Figure 2
Figure 2
90% minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC90) for Enterobacteriaceae from Chennai and Haryana, India, and the UK
Figure 3
Figure 3
The difference in plasmid numbers from a selection of Indian isolates Tracks 1–10 show the number of plasmids in isolates from Chennai (south India) and tracks 11–18 show the number of plasmids in isolates from Haryana (north India). Most isolates contained up to seven plasmids, and in Chennai there was greater variation than in isolates from Haryana showing the bacterial clonality of NDM-1 carriage in Haryana.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Hybridisation results of UK isolates with blaNDM-1 Pulsed-field gel of S1-treated plasmid DNA of UK isolates M15–M27 stained with ethidium bromide (A). Molecular weight marker is Lambda concatamer 50–1000 kb. The chromosome of each isolate is the bright band at the top of each lane and bright bands below are plasmids of various sizes. Autoradiogram of gel A probed with a blaNDM-1 showing individual or multiple plasmids in each strain carrying blaNDM-1 (B).
Figure 5
Figure 5
Distribution of NDM-1-producing Enterobacteriaceae strains in Bangladesh, Indian, Pakistan, and the UK

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