Microb Genom. 2021 Feb 25. doi: 10.1099/mgen.0.000520. Online ahead of print.
Klebsiella pneumoniae is a frequent cause of nosocomial and severe community-acquired infections. Multidrug-resistant (MDR) and hypervirulent (hv) strains represent major threats, and tracking their emergence, evolution and the emerging convergence of MDR and hv traits is of major importance. We employed whole-genome sequencing (WGS) to study the evolution and epidemiology of a large longitudinal collection of clinical K. pneumoniae isolates from the H301 hospital in Beijing, China. Overall, the population was highly diverse, although some clones were predominant. Strains belonging to clonal group (CG) 258 were dominant, and represented the majority of carbapenemase-producers. While CG258 strains showed high diversity, one clone, ST11-KL47, represented the majority of isolates, and was highly associated with the KPC-2 carbapenemase and several virulence factors, including a virulence plasmid. The second dominant clone was CG23, which is the major hv clone globally. While it is usually susceptible to multiple antibiotics, we found some isolates harbouring MDR plasmids encoding for ESBLs and carbapenemases. We also reported the local emergence of a recently described high-risk clone, ST383. Conversely to strains belonging to CG258, which are usually associated to KPC-2, ST383 strains seem to readily acquire carbapenemases of different types. Moreover, we found several ST383 strains carrying the hypervirulence plasmid. Overall, we detected about 5 % of simultaneous carriage of AMR genes (ESBLs or carbapenemases) and hypervirulence genes. Tracking the emergence and evolution of such strains, causing severe infections with limited treatment options, is fundamental in order to understand their origin and evolution and to limit their spread. This article contains data hosted by Microreact.