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J Infect Dev Ctries. 2009 Jun 1;3(5):335-41.

Carbapenem resistance in Acinetobacter baumannii: the molecular epidemic features of an emerging problem in health care facilities.

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Department of Preventive Medical Sciences, Hygiene Section, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy.


Acinetobacter baumannii is an opportunistic gram-negative pathogen with increasing relevance in a variety of nosocomial infections especially among intensive-care-unit (ICU) patients. Carbapenems have been widely used to treat serious multidrug-resistant A. baumannii infections; however, incidences of carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii are rising in several parts of the world and large and sustained outbreaks caused by such bacteria have been described. Carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii epidemics are sustained by clusters of highly similar strains that successfully spread among different cities and countries; their resistance phenotype is mainly due to the acquisition of carbapenem-hydrolyzing class D beta-lactamase (CHDL) genes flanked by insertion sequence (IS) elements. Multi-facility outbreaks can be also sustained by inter-hospital transfer of colonized patients. Here, we review the global epidemiology of carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii, with the emphasis on the molecular epidemiology and genetic characterization of carbapenem resistance in epidemic strains.

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