Background: Carbapenems are traditionally reserved as the last line of defence for treatment of serious infections with multiresistant Gram-negative bacilli. Reports of Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC)-producing organisms have been emerging globally, but rare in Australasia to date. We describe an outbreak of KPC-2 producing K. pneumoniae at an Australian hospital.
Methods: After initial detection in October 2012, a retrospective review of patients with meropenem-resistant K. pneumoniae to June 2012, and ongoing prospective surveillance, was undertaken. Included patients were admitted to the hospital after June 2012 and had meropenem-resistant K. pneumoniae isolated from any site. Available isolates underwent detection of the KPC-2 gene by polymerase chain reaction and molecular typing was performed to determine genetic relatedness between isolates. Point-prevalence screening was performed on selected wards to detect asymptomatic carriage. Infection control procedures were implemented to contain the outbreak.
Results: Ten cases were identified in the initial cluster. Eight were localised to a single inpatient ward. Point-prevalence screening revealed one extra case. After temporary containment, re-emergence of KPC-producing isolates was observed post October 2013 with 18 further cases identified. Four K. pneumoniae isolates in the 2012 cluster and 16 from the 2013-2014 cluster were referred for further testing. All carried the KPC-2 beta-lactamase gene. The 2012 isolates were genetically similar to the 2014 isolates.
Conclusion: KPC-2 mediated resistance is an emerging threat in Australia. The re-emergence of KPC despite initial containment emphasises the need for constant vigilance in the microbiology laboratory and ongoing maintenance of infection control and antimicrobial stewardship activity.
Keywords: KPC; Klebsiella pneumoniae; antimicrobial resistance; carbapenemase.
© 2015 Royal Australasian College of Physicians.