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PLoS One. 2015 Sep 25;10(9):e0139116. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0139116. eCollection 2015.

Genetic Characterization of Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae and the Spread of Carbapenem-Resistant Klebsiella pneumonia ST340 at a University Hospital in Thailand.

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Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.


Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) has increasingly spread worldwide in the past decade. The prevalence and characteristics of CRE in Thailand are unknown. In this study, we conducted a 2-year surveillance of CRE among 12,741 clinical isolates of Enterobacteriaceae at the largest university hospital in Thailand with molecular characterization of beta-lactamase (bla) genes, including carbapenemase genes. The CRE prevalence was 1.4%. blaKPC-13 and blaIMP-14a were the only carbapenemase genes detected among these CRE isolates. blaKPC-13 gene was found in a single isolate of Escherichia coli, Enterobacter cloacae and Citrobacter freundii, and blaIMP-14a was found in four isolates of Klebsiella pneumoniae. Carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae (CRKP) isolates were resistant to multiple carbapenems at a higher ratio than other CRE species, and thus were further characterized for resistance phenotypes, bla genotypes and molecular epidemiology. Most CRKP isolates harboured multiple bla genes, especially those related to extended-spectrum beta-lactamases. Seven CRKP isolates were resistant to all tested carbapenems, and showed decreased ompK35 and/or ompK36 porin gene expression. Molecular typing of CRKP based on pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) demonstrated several unrelated clones. Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) was partially concordant with PFGE results and revealed that ST340, a member of drug-resistant K. pneumoniae clonal complex 258, was the most predominant clone, followed by ST48, ST11 and ST273. The novel ST1645 was identified from this study. ST340 has neither been shown to be predominated among CRKP from other studies, nor been reported in Thailand. Therefore, it emphases a critical concern to monitor and control the spread of CRKP.

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