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Indian J Med Microbiol. 2018 Oct-Dec;36(4):572-576. doi: 10.4103/ijmm.IJMM_18_437.

Carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae screening: A core infection control measure for critical care unit in India?

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Institute of Infectious Diseases, Apollo Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
Department of Critical Care Medicine, Apollo Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
Department of Microbiology, Apollo Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.



Infection/colonization due to carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) are emerging as an important challenge, particularly in high risk patients due to widespread use of Carbapenems. Therefore, preventing both CRE infections and their transmission has become an important infection control objective.

Aims and Objective:

Determine the proportion of asymptomatic carriers of CRE among patients admitted to our critical care unit (CCU) from the community and other health care facilities. Enumerate risk factors and guide implementation of infection control interventions.


This prospective surveillance study was done in a 24 bed CCU of a tertiary care hospital, at Chennai, India between August2017 through December 2017. Patients were screened based on a composed questionnaire framed from Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention CRE tool-kit. Two rectal swabs were collected from each patient. They were processed in microbiology laboratory.


A total of 102 patients were included. CRE colonization were identified in 8 (7.8%) of the total samples. Among 8 CRE colonized patients 3 (37.5%) patients developed systemic infection. Patients who were exposed to high end antibiotic and past history of surgery had significant association with CRE colonization of (P = 0.0029) and (P = 0.0167) respectively.


Overall CRE colonization rates among our CCU patients were found to be low. Risk factors associated with CRE colonization were high end antibiotic exposure and surgery in past 90 days. Hence rectal screening should be a risk factor-based active surveillance. Association of systemic infection among CRE colonizers was more significant. This study led us to modify our infection control practices in CCU.


Carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae; India; colonization; critical care unit; risk factors


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