Addenbrookes hospital in Cambridge (UK) have recently performed a point prevalence survey for antibiotic resistant bacteria. None of 540 patient samples grew CPE, but 130 (24%) grew VRE. So, why no CPE but so much VRE?
The Journal of Hospital Infection have published a welcome special issue on multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria. The collection includes some updates on epidemiology, staff carriage (again!), clinical microbiology, and patient perspectives on CPE, and is well worth a read.
A really important point prevalence survey of CPE carriage in inpatients in a hospital in Manchester has just been published in the Journal of Hospital Infection. Important because of the high rate of carriage (11% of 662 patients included). Important because for every 1.6 known cases of CPE, there was an undetected case lurking, despite an extensive screening programme. Important because the lack of significant risk factors associated with CPE carriage suggests that it is distributed homogeneously, endemic in the population. And important because this is the first citable publication suggesting that Manchester has a problem with CPE, despite us having known about it for years via professional networks.
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).
|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.’