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Emergence of KPC-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae in Italy

Carla Fontana12*, Marco Favaro1, Loredana Sarmati4, Silvia Natoli3, Anna Altieri2, Maria C Bossa2, Silvia Minelli2, Francesca Leonardis3 and Cartesio Favalli12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Experimental Medicine and Biochemical Sciences, "Tor Vergata" University of Rome - Via Montpellier 1, Rome, 00133, Italy

2 Clinical Microbiology Laboratories, Polyclinic of Tor Vergata, Viale Oxford 81, Rome, 00133, Italy

3 Department of Surgery, Intensive Care Unit, Polyclinic Tor Vergata, Viale Oxford 81, Rome, 00133, Italy

4 Infectious Diseases, Department of Public Health, Polyclinic of Tor Vergata, Viale Oxford 81, Rome, 00133, Italy

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BMC Research Notes 2010, 3:40  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-3-40

Published: 23 February 2010



The emergence of KPC-producing K. pneumoniae has now become a global concern. KPC beta-lactamases are plasmid-borne and, like extended spectrum beta lactamases (ESBLs), can accumulate and transfer resistance determinants to other classes of antibiotics. Therefore, infection control guidelines on early identification and control of the spread of organisms carrying these resistant determinants are needed.


Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC) was detected in two isolates of carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae obtained from patients at an Italian teaching hospital. The first strain was isolated from a culture drawn from a central venous device (CVC) in a patient with Crohn's disease who was admitted to a gastroenterology ward. The second was isolated from a urine sample collected from an indwelling urinary catheter in an intensive care unit (ICU) patient with a subdural haematoma. The patients had not travelled abroad. Both isolates were resistant to all β-lactams and were susceptible to imipenem and meropenem but resistant to ertapenem. Isolates also showed resistance to other classes of non-β-lactam antibiotics, such as quinolones, aminoglycosides (with the exception for amikacin), trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) and nitrofurantoin. They were determined to contain the plasmid encoding the carbapenemase gene bla-KPC and were also positive in the Hodge test.


This is the second report of KPC-producing isolates in Italy, but the first concerning KPC type 2 gene, and it may have important implications for controlling the transmission of microorganisms resistant to antibiotics.