In this study, we used phenotypic methods to screen carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CREs) and evaluated their antimicrobial sensitivity profile.
One hundred and seventy-eight CREs were isolated at a university hospital in south Brazil in a one-year period. Samples were assessed using disk diffusion tests with inhibitors of β-lactamases such as phenylboronic acid (AFB), cloxacillin (CLOXA), and ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA). Strains with differences in zone diameters ≥ 5mm for disks supplemented or not were considered producers of carbapenemases.
Klebsiella pneumoniae was the most prevalent CRE, which appeared in 80.3% cases (n = 143). Among clinical materials, the rectal swab was responsible for 43.4% of the isolations (n = 62), followed by urine (18.9%; n = 27). Among the CREs identified in this study, the growth of 56.7% (n = 101) isolates, which were putative producers of Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC), were inhibited by AFB, whereas 7.3% (n = 13) isolates were inhibited by both AFB and CLOXA and were considered as putative producers of plasmid-mediated AmpC; approximately 3.4% (n = 6) were inhibited by EDTA, which possibly produced metallo-β-lactamase. Lastly, 32.6% (n = 58) cases showed negative results for AFB, CLOXA, and EDTA sensitivity, and represented another class of β-lactamases and/or mechanism of resistance.
Phenotypic screening of CREs is important for clinical laboratories that monitor outbreaks of resistant microbes. Phenotypic tests that use carbapenemase inhibitors and enhancers such as AFB, CLOXA, and EDTA are necessary since they are good screening methods for the detection of carbapenemases.