Spread of Klebsiella pneumoniae producing SHV-5 beta-lactamase among hospitalized patients

Infection. Jan-Feb 1993;21(1):18-22. doi: 10.1007/BF01739303.


The first outbreak of infections caused by an SHV-5 producing strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae is reported. Within a period of 1 year and 9 months, multiresistant K. pneumoniae strains caused severe infections, mostly of the lower respiratory tract, in 22 patients. The strains were resistant to penicillins, third-generation cephalosporins, aztreonam, chloramphenicol, tetracycline and co-trimoxazole. The resistance determinants were transferable to Escherichia coli. All isolates produced a beta-lactamase with a pI of 8.2. Ceftazidime was hydrolyzed at this band. These characteristics, together with the resistance phenotype, are identical to those of a reference strain producing the beta-lactamase SHV-5. The K. pneumoniae strains of all patients were identical in their capsular serotype (K1), plasmid pattern and plasmid fingerprint after digestion with Dra I restriction endonuclease. We conclude that this outbreak was caused by the spread of one clone of K. pneumoniae producing SHV-5 beta-lactamase among patients of different wards. Our results indicate a real risk for failure of therapy by third-generation cephalosporins in intensive care patients due to SHV-5 producing pathogens.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Cross Infection / drug therapy
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / transmission*
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Humans
  • Klebsiella Infections / drug therapy
  • Klebsiella Infections / epidemiology
  • Klebsiella Infections / transmission*
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / drug effects
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / enzymology*
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / genetics
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • beta-Lactamases / biosynthesis


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • beta-Lactamases