Clusters of imipenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii clones producing different carbapenemases in an intensive care unit

A Tsakris, A Ikonomidis, A Poulou, N Spanakis, D Vrizas, M Diomidous, S Pournaras, F Markou
Clinical Microbiology and Infection 2008, 14 (6): 588-94
During a 2-year period (April 2005-March 2007), 31 intensive care unit (ICU) patients in a Greek hospital were infected or colonised with imipenem-resistant isolates of Acinetobacter baumannii. Twelve patients died, with imipenem-resistant A. baumannii infection contributing to the death of seven patients. The 31 representative A. baumannii isolates were multidrug-resistant and clustered in four distinct clones, each of which contained different carbapenemase genes: clone I was predominant and contained bla(VIM-1), bla(OXA-58) and the intrinsic bla(OXA-66) gene; clone II contained bla(VIM-4), bla(OXA-58) and the intrinsic bla(OXA-69) gene; clone III contained bla(OXA-58) and the intrinsic bla(OXA-69) gene; and clone IV contained only the intrinsic bla(OXA-66) gene. ISAba1 was not associated with the intrinsic bla(OXA-51-like) alleles, whereas ISAba3 was found upstream and downstream of bla(OXA-58) in isolates of clone I, and upstream of bla(OXA-58) in isolates of clone III, but was not detected in isolates of clone II. PCR, curing and hybridisation experiments indicated that the bla(VIM) alleles were chromosomally located, whereas the bla(OXA-58) alleles were plasmid-located. This study provides the first description of the clonal spread of multidrug-resistant A. baumannii isolates carrying bla(VIM-1) and bla(VIM-4) metallo-beta-lactamase genes, and revealed that distinct carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii clusters bearing different carbapenemase genes may emerge and cause severe infections, even in a well-defined regional hospital setting.

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