Carbapenemase-producing Pseudomonas aeruginosa from central Greece: molecular epidemiology and genetic analysis of class I integrons
AuthorLiakopoulos, A.; Mavroidi, A.; Katsifas, E. A.; Theodosiou, A.; Karagouni, A. D.; Miriagou, V.; Petinaki, E.
Background: Multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a serious challenge for antimicrobial therapy of nosocomial infections, as it possesses several mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance. In Central Greece, a sudden increase of infections caused by carbapenem-resistant P. aeruginosa was observed during 2011, indicating the need for further analysis. Methods: Five-hundred and sixty-eight P. aeruginosa isolates were collected consecutively during an 8-month period in 2011 from inpatients treated in three hospitals in the Thessaly region (1,000,000 habitants) of Greece. Carbapenem resistant P. aeruginosa (n = 284) were characterized by antimicrobial susceptibility testing and beta-lactamase content, and the genetic relatedness of carbapenemase-producing isolates was assessed by BOX-PCR, multilocus sequence typing, and eBURST analysis. Mapping of the class I integrons of Verona integron-encoded metallo-beta-lactamase (VIM)-carrying isolates was also performed, and clinical data of the VIM producers were reviewed. Results: Eighty (14.1%) out of the 568 P. aeruginosa isolates recovered from clinical specimens were VIM producers. Multilocus sequence typing revealed high prevalence of the international clones ST111 and ST235 among blaVIM-2- and blaVIM-4-positive isolates, respectively. blaVIM-17 was identified in an isolate of a novel sequence type (ST1457). bla(VIM) gene cassettes were carried by five distinct class I integrons, including two novel ones. Conclusions: Since the first report of VIM-producing P. aeruginosa in 2000, this microorganism still remains among the most prevalent multidrug resistant pathogens in Greece. The spread of VIM-producers belonging to the most common international clones (ST111 and ST235), the spread of integrons of divergent structures, and the emergence of novel integrons underscore their ongoing evolution.