Objectives: Carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii and Pseudomonas aeruginosa are endemic in many medical centres. Because therapeutic options are limited, understanding the epidemiology and controlling the spread of these pathogens are of paramount importance.
Methods: Isolates of K. pneumoniae, A. baumannii and P. aeruginosa were collected from 14 hospitals in New York City over a 3 month period in 2009, and analysed for the presence of genes encoding important carbapenemases. Comparisons were made with a similar study conducted in 2006. Demographic and infection control-related information from hospitals was collected.
Results: Overall, 29% of K. pneumoniae possessed the carbapenemase KPC, significantly improved from the 38% observed in 2006 (P < 0.001). However, carbapenem resistance worsened in A. baumannii (mostly due to the emergence of strains with OXA-type carbapenemases) and P. aeruginosa. The decline in KPC-possessing K. pneumoniae was not uniformly observed in all of the hospitals. In a subset analysis of nine hospitals, those with a decreasing prevalence of bla(KPC) had shorter average lengths of stay.
Conclusions: Measurable improvement has occurred in reducing the spread of KPC-possessing K. pneumoniae, and reducing the average length of stay may augment infection control efforts. However, the problem of carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii and P. aeruginosa lingers. New approaches, including respiratory isolation and environmental cleaning, need to be examined to control the spread of A. baumannii and P. aeruginosa.