Characterization of Carbapenem-Resistant Escherichia Coli and Klebsiella Pneumoniae From a Healthcare Region in Hong Kong

Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2016 Mar;35(3):379-85. doi: 10.1007/s10096-015-2550-3. Epub 2016 Jan 6.


Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae represents a major public health issue. This study investigated the clonality and resistance mechanisms of 92 carbapenem-resistant E. coli (n = 21) and K. pneumoniae (n = 71) isolates collected consecutively from clinical specimens and patients at high risk of carriage between 2010 and 2012 in a healthcare region in Hong Kong. Combined disk tests (CDTs) and the Carba NP test were used for phenotypic detection of carbapenemases. PCR assays were used to detect carbapenemase genes. All isolates were intermediate or resistant to at least one carbapenem. Nine (9.8 %) isolates were genotypic carbapenemase producers and included six K. pneumoniae (one ST1306/bla IMP-4, one ST889/bla IMP-4, two ST11/bla KPC-2, one ST258/bla KPC-2, one ST483/bla NDM-1) and three E. coli (one ST131/bla IMP-4, two ST744/ bla NDM-1) isolates. All nine isolates carrying carbapenemase genes could be detected by the CDTs and the Carba NP test. PCR identified bla CTX-M and bla AmpC alone or in combination in 77.8 % (7/9) and 96.4 % (80/83) of the carbapenemase-producers and non-producers, respectively. Porin loss was detected in 22.2 % (2/9) and 59.0 % (49/83) of the carbapenemase-producers and non-producers, respectively. Overall, the E. coli clones were diverse (14 different STs), but 36.6 % (26/71) of the K. pneumoniae isolates belonged to ST11. In conclusion, the prevalence of carbapenemases among carbapenem-nonsusceptible E. coli and K. pneumoniae remained low in Hong Kong. Porin loss combined with AmpC and/or CTX-M type ESBL was the major mechanism of carbapenem resistance in the study population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Carbapenems / pharmacology*
  • Enterobacteriaceae Infections / epidemiology*
  • Enterobacteriaceae Infections / microbiology*
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Hong Kong / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / drug effects*
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / genetics
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Porins / genetics
  • beta-Lactam Resistance*
  • beta-Lactamases / genetics


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Carbapenems
  • Porins
  • beta-Lactamases
  • carbapenemase