Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy

First countrywide survey of acquired metallo-beta-lactamases in gram-negative pathogens in Italy.

PMID 18809945


Metallo-beta-lactamases (MBLs) can confer resistance to most beta-lactams, including carbapenems. Their emergence in gram-negative pathogens is a matter of major concern. Italy was the first European country to report the presence of acquired MBLs in gram-negative pathogens and is one of the countries where MBL producers have been detected repeatedly. Here, we present the results of the first Italian nationwide survey of acquired MBLs in gram-negative pathogens. Of 14,812 consecutive nonreplicate clinical isolates (12,245 Enterobacteriaceae isolates and 2,567 gram-negative nonfermenters) screened for reduced carbapenem susceptibility during a 4-month period (September to December 2004), 30 isolates (28 Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates, 1 Pseudomonas putida isolate, and 1 Enterobacter cloacae isolate) carried acquired MBL determinants. MBL producers were detected in 10 of 12 cities, with a predominance of VIM-type enzymes over IMP-type enzymes (4:1). Although having an overall low prevalence (1.3%) and significant geographical differences, MBL-producing P. aeruginosa strains appeared to be widespread in Italy, with a notable diversity of clones, enzymes, and integrons carrying MBL gene cassettes.