Genes (Basel). 2021 Jun 22;12(7):951. doi: 10.3390/genes12070951.
The study investigated carbapenemase-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae (CPKP) isolates of patients in an intensive care unit (ICU) in a public hospital in the KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa using whole-genome sequencing (WGS). Ninety-seven rectal swabs, collected from all consenting adult patients (n = 31) on days 1, 3, and 7 and then weekly, were screened for carbapenemase-production using Chrome-ID selective media. Antibiotic susceptibility was determined for the fourteen positive CPKP isolates obtained using the VITEK 2 automated system. All isolates (100%) were resistant to ertapenem and meropenem, and 71.4% (n = 10) were resistant to imipenem. All CPKP isolates were subjected to ERIC/PCR, and a sub-sample of isolates was selected for WGS based on their antibiograms and clonality. All sequenced isolates harbored the blaOXA-181 carbapenemase (100%) and co-carried other β-lactamase genes such as blaOXA-1, blaCTX-M-15, blaTEM-1B, and blaSHV-1. IncF, IncX3, and Col plasmid replicons groups and class I integrons (ln191 and ln27) were detected. All isolates belonged to the same sequence type ST307 and capsular serotypes (K102, O2v2). All the isolates carried the same virulence repertoire, reflecting the epidemiological relationship between isolates. blaOXA-181 was located on a multi-replicon plasmid similar to that of E. coli p010_B-OXA181, and isolates were aligned with several South African and international clades, demonstrating horizontal and vertical transboundary distribution. The findings suggest that blaOXA-181 producing K. pneumoniae is endemic in this ICU, colonizing the patients. CRE screening and enhanced infection prevention and control measures are urgently required.