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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2009 Feb;63(2):269-73. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkn512. Epub 2008 Dec 18.

Emergence and persistence of integron structures harbouring VIM genes in the Children's Memorial Health Institute, Warsaw, Poland, 1998-2006.

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Department of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology, The Children's Memorial Health Institute, Warsaw, Poland.



The aim was to perform a genetically detailed study of the emergence of metallo-beta-lactamase (MBL) genes in Pseudomonas spp. in the Children's Memorial Health Institute over a 9 year period.


Carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas spp. isolates were collected from 1998 to 2006 and screened for MBL production. MBL-positive isolates were further investigated by a combination of genetic techniques including PCR, genomic location experiments using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) of I-Ceu1, S1 and SpeI digests, and sequencing.


Of the 20 MBL-containing Pseudomonas isolates collected from 1998 to 2006, 16 Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates contained an identical class 1 integron structure. Two P. aeruginosa isolates contained the bla(VIM-2) gene, and two Pseudomonas putida isolates harboured the bla(VIM-4) gene cassette in different integron structures. PFGE analysis indicated that all bla(VIM-4)-containing P. aeruginosa isolates were closely related, whereas the P. putida isolates were not. All MBL genes in this study were chromosomally encoded, and all isolates harboured only one class 1 integron. The bla(VIM-2) isolates were clonal, and the genetic structure supporting the bla(VIM-2) gene was found in an identical chromosomal position.


MBL gene emergence in this hospital has paralleled a 6-fold increase in carbapenem usage. We have found an increase in MBL gene diversity, MBL host organisms and MBL genetic support structures in the hospital over the 9 year study period. There is also compelling evidence of the persistence of individual strains in the hospital throughout the study period. This suggests that once MBL genes have emerged in a hospital environment, they are difficult to remove.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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