Who's harbouring CRE?


Many of us are in the process of developing policies of who to screen for CRE carriage. I’ve recently reviewed the literature for studies of CRE carriage (Table, summarising studies evaluating faecal carriage rate of CRE, below).

Author Year Location Setting n patients n carriers % carriers
Adler1 2015 Israel CRE carriage in post-acute hospitals, 2008 1147 184 16.0
CRE carriage in post-acute hospitals, 2013 1287 127 9.9
Mack 2014 London ‘High-risk’ inpatients and admissions. 2077 7 0.3
Rai2 2014 East Delhi, India Outpatients 242 24 9.9
Zhao3 2014 Fujian, China Stool samples from hospitalized patients 303 20 6.6
Birgand4 2014 Paris, France Patients repatriated or recently hospitalized in a foreign country 132 9 6.8
Kim5 2014 Seoul, Korea ICU admissions 347 1 0.3
Girlich6 2014 Morocco Hospitalized patients 77 10 13.0
Lin7 2013 Chicago, USA Long term acute care hospitals 391 119 30.4
Short stay hospital ICU 910 30 3.3
Villar8 2013 Buenos Aires, Argentina Non-hospitalized individuals 164 8 4.9
Kothari9 2013 New Delhi, India. Healthy neonates 75 1 1.3
Day10 2013 Pakistan Patients attending a military hospital 175 32 18.3
Swaminathan11 2013 New York All admissions to 7 units, including ICU, of 2 hospitals 5676 306 5.4
Nüesch-Inderbinen12 2013 Zurich, Switzerland Healthy community residents and outpatients 605 0 0.0
Armand-Lefèvre13 2013 Paris, France ICU patients 50 6 12.0
Wiener-Well14 2010 Jerusalem, Israel Hospitalized patients 298 16 5.4
The most important question to consider when reviewing these data are whether these are CRE or CPE? The rate of carriage of Enterobacteriaceae that are resistant to some carbapenemens by mechanisms that don’t involve carbapenemase will be higher than CPE. Some studies did not report whether they checked for carbapenemase production, and those that did reported a much lower rate of CPE. For example, Armand-Lefèvre et al.13 reported a 12% carriage rate of imipemen-resistant (i.e. carbapenem-resistant) Enterobacteriaceae in ICU patients but none of these carried a carbapenemase.A number of studies report shockingly high rates of carriage. A point-prevalence study of long-term acute care hospitals in Chicago found that 30% of patients carried CRE.7 High rates of carriage were also found in long-term acute care hospitals in Israel, but a national intervention reduced the rate of carriage from 16% in 2008 to 10% in 2013.1 Perhaps even more concerning are signs that there is a substantial community burden of carriage in the Indian Subcontinent. For example, 18% of patients attending a military hospital in Pakistan carried NDM-1 producing Enterobacteriaceae,10 and 10% of Enterobacteriaceae in stool specimens from 123 outpatients in East Delhi produced a carbapenemase.2

In contrast, most studies from Europe report very low rates of carriage, particular in community residents. For example, a Swiss study failed to identify a single carbapenemase producer in a sample of 605 community residents and outpatients.12 Similarly, data published from the Royal Free in London found that only 0.3% of 2077 ‘high-risk’ patients carried CRE.

So, where does this leave us in developing our CRE screening policies? These data mean that your approach will depend where you are. If you are in the middle of New Delhi, then your approach will be different to those of us in London. It seems that CRE is currently rare in most parts of Europe but the surprisingly high CRE carriage rates in some parts of the US are particularly troubling, and should serve to keep us all on our toes.

Image: ‘OXA-48 like carbapenemase.’


  1. Adler A, Hussein O, Ben-David D et al. Persistence of Klebsiella pneumoniae ST258 as the predominant clone of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae in post-acute-care hospitals in Israel, 2008-13. J Antimicrob Chemother 2015; 70: 89-92.
  2. Rai S, Das D, Niranjan DK, Singh NP, Kaur IR. Carriage prevalence of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae in stool samples: A surveillance study. Australas Med J 2014; 7: 64-67.
  3. Zhao ZC, Xu XH, Liu MB, Wu J, Lin J, Li B. Fecal carriage of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae in a Chinese university hospital. Am J Infect Control 2014; 42: e61-64.
  4. Birgand G, Armand-Lefevre L, Lepainteur M et al. Introduction of highly resistant bacteria into a hospital via patients repatriated or recently hospitalized in a foreign country. Clin Microbiol Infect 2014; 20: O887-890.
  5. Kim J, Lee JY, Kim SI et al. Rates of fecal transmission of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae among patients in intensive care units in Korea. Ann Lab Med 2014; 34: 20-25.
  6. Girlich D, Bouihat N, Poirel L, Benouda A, Nordmann P. High rate of faecal carriage of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase and OXA-48 carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae at a university hospital in Morocco. Clin Microbiol Infect 2014; 20: 350-354.
  7. Lin MY, Lyles-Banks RD, Lolans K et al. The importance of long-term acute care hospitals in the regional epidemiology of Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae. Clin Infect Dis 2013; 57: 1246-1252.
  8. Villar HE, Baserni MN, Jugo MB. Faecal carriage of ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae and carbapenem-resistant Gram-negative bacilli in community settings. J Infect Dev Ctries 2013; 7: 630-634.
  9. Kothari C, Gaind R, Singh LC et al. Community acquisition of beta-lactamase producing Enterobacteriaceae in neonatal gut. BMC Microbiol 2013; 13: 136.
  10. Day KM, Ali S, Mirza IA et al. Prevalence and molecular characterization of Enterobacteriaceae producing NDM-1 carbapenemase at a military hospital in Pakistan and evaluation of two chromogenic media. Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis 2013; 75: 187-191.
  11. Swaminathan M, Sharma S, Poliansky Blash S et al. Prevalence and risk factors for acquisition of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae in the setting of endemicity. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2013; 34: 809-817.
  12. Nuesch-Inderbinen M, Zurfluh K, Hachler H, Stephan R. No evidence so far for the dissemination of carbapenemase-producing Enterobactericeae in the community in Switzerland. Antimicrob Resist Infect Control 2013; 2: 23.
  13. Armand-Lefevre L, Angebault C, Barbier F et al. Emergence of imipenem-resistant gram-negative bacilli in intestinal flora of intensive care patients. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2013; 57: 1488-1495.
  14. Wiener-Well Y, Rudensky B, Yinnon AM et al. Carriage rate of carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae in hospitalised patients during a national outbreak. J Hosp Infect 2010; 74: 344-349.

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