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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2014 Feb;69(2):287-91. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkt392. Epub 2013 Oct 3.

Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae and non-Enterobacteriaceae from animals and the environment: an emerging public health risk of our own making?

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Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections (AMRHAI) Reference Unit, Public Health England, London NW9 5EQ, UK.


Acquired carbapenemases pose one of the most pressing public health threats relating to antibiotic resistance. In most countries, the number of carbapenemase-producing bacteria from human clinical specimens is rising, and the epidemiological status of these multiresistant bacteria is progressively worsening. Furthermore, there is a growing number of reports of carbapenemases found either in bacteria isolated from non-human sources or in Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica, a zoonotic species. However, carbapenemases are not yet systematically sought in bacteria from non-human sources, reports of them are largely observational, and there is limited investigation of carbapenemase-positive bacteria in animals and possible links with people who may have acted as potential sources. Active surveillance and monitoring for carbapenem-resistant bacteria in the food chain and other non-human sources is urgently needed, with an enhanced and rigorous follow-up of all positive results. The carbapenems are currently our last good defence against multiresistant Gram-negative bacteria. Our ability to limit the rise and spread of carbapenemase producers, which occur only at basal levels in many countries at present, should serve as a key performance indicator for the success or failure of the efforts that have been called for by international organizations and governments to reduce the impact of antibiotic resistance.


KPC; NDM; OXA-48; Salmonella enterica; VIM; food chain; pets; rivers

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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