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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Molecular epidemiology of multidrug resistant extended spectrum beta-lactamase producing Klebsiella pneumoniae at a Jamaican hospital, 2000 - 2004

Nicole A Christian*, Karen Roye-Green and Monica Smikle

Author Affiliations

Department of Microbiology, University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica

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BMC Microbiology 2010, 10:27  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-10-27

Published: 28 January 2010



The accurate identification of a pathogen beyond the species level is critical in epidemiological studies and investigations of nosocomial outbreaks of infection. The clonal relatedness of 66 multidrug resistant (MDR) strains of extended spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) producing K. pneumoniae isolated from clinical specimens from hospitalized patients at a Jamaican hospital during a 5 year period were determined by pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE).


A total 10 different ESBL producing K. pneumoniae genotypes designated Clones I-X were found. The most frequently occurring strains belonged to Clones I (21/66, 32%), II (15/66, 26%), III (13/66, 20%) and IV (8/66, 12%) which accounted for 86% (57/66) of ESBL producing K. pneumoniae strains over the 5 year period. The remaining 9 (14%) cases of ESBL producing K. pneumoniae were due to strains of Clones V-X. The 4 predominant clones persisted for several years in the hospital.


The clonal and temporal distribution of the MDR ESBL producing K. pneumoniae strains among clinical service areas did not suggest outbreaks of the organism during the period of study. Instead the molecular epidemiology of ESBL producing K. pneumoniae at this hospital was more representative of an endemic persistence of clones of the organism with limited dissemination from patient to patient. Further studies to investigate the factors which determine the emergence and persistence of MDR ESBL producing K. pneumoniae in Jamaican hospitals and their impact on clinical and economic outcomes at such institutions would be useful.