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Microb Drug Resist. 2016 Dec;22(8):668-674. Epub 2016 Mar 18.

Epidemic Dissemination of a Carbapenem-Resistant Acinetobacter baumannii Clone Carrying armA Two Years After Its First Isolation in an Italian Hospital.

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1 Department of Life Sciences, University of Trieste , Trieste, Italy .
2 Department of Laboratory Medicine, Microbiology CS, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria "Ospedali Riuniti," Trieste, Italy .
3 Division of Infective Diseases, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria "Ospedali Riuniti," Trieste, Italy .
4 Department of Medical, Surgical and Health Sciences, University of Trieste , Trieste, Italy .


This study describes the dissemination of a carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (CRAB) strain in a university hospital in Northeast Italy. Characterization of the outbreak strain was combined with a retrospective analysis of all CRAB isolates collected in the same hospital during the 5 years preceding the outbreak, with the aim of elucidating the origin of the epidemic spread. The outbreak strain was shown to belong to the International Clone II and carry the blaOXA-23 gene, flanked by two ISAba1 sequences in opposite orientation (Tn2006 arrangement). The epidemic clone harbored also the blaOXA-66 allele of the carbapenemase intrinsic to A. baumannii, the determinant of ArmA 16S rRNA methylase and a class 1 integron, with the aacA4, catB8, and aadA1 cassette array. Genotype analysis, performed by macrorestriction analysis and VRBA, revealed that isolates related to outbreak strain had been sporadically collected from inpatients in the 2 years preceding outbreak start. Carriage of blaOXA-66, armA, and the integron further supported relatedness of these isolates to the outbreak clone. Outbreak initially involved three medical wards, typically hosting elderly patients with a history of prolonged hospitalization. The study highlights the need to adopt strict infection control measures also when CRAB isolation appears to be a sporadic event.


Acinetobacter baumannii; ArmA; OXA-23; carbapenemase; integron; outbreak

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