Microbial drug resistance (Larchmont, N.Y.)

Spread of Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus faecium Isolates Despite Validated Infection Control Measures in an Italian Hospital: Antibiotic Resistance and Genotypic Characterization of the Endemic Strain.

PMID 29373085


An alarming increase of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VREfm) isolates was detected in an Italian referral hospital subjected to policies of infection control validated by the Joint Commission International. Analysis of the population structure of 122 consecutive, nonreplicate VREfm isolates collected over an 18-month period identified a single major clone that spread around the whole hospital, rapidly establishing an endemic state. It belonged to sequence type (ST) 17 and showed a highly multidrug-resistant phenotype, being resistant to all antimicrobial classes for the carriage of several resistance determinants. Furthermore, some strains with decreased susceptibility to daptomycin were detected. Eighteen out of the 122 isolates did not group in the major clone. They showed a low spreading potential inside the hospital wards, even if most of them displayed a multidrug-resistant phenotype and belonged to a hospital-adapted lineage. Causes that led to the VREfm endemic state have not been fully elucidated. However, it is conceivable that the increase in systemic antibiotic consumption and the use of selective digestive tract decontamination, including vancomycin in critically ill patients during the period before 2014, may have played a role in the ST17 clone dissemination, but additional traits conferring high fitness in hospital environment cannot be excluded.