Journal Article

Italian metallo-β-lactamases: a national problem? Report from the SENTRY Antimicrobial Surveillance Programme

Mark A. Toleman, Doug Biedenbach, David M. C. Bennett, Ronald N. Jones and Timothy R. Walsh

in Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Published on behalf of British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Volume 55, issue 1, pages 61-70
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 0305-7453
Published online January 2005 | e-ISSN: 1460-2091 | DOI:
Italian metallo-β-lactamases: a national problem? Report from the SENTRY Antimicrobial Surveillance Programme

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Objectives: As part of the SENTRY Antimicrobial Surveillance Programme, 383 non-replicative randomly collected Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates were collected during 1999–2002. These strains originated from three geographically distinct hospitals within Italy: Genoa (Northern Italy); Rome and Catania (Sicily), and were further studied to identify the prevalence of metallo-β-lactamase (MβL) alleles across Italy and to determine their genetic details.

Methods: Multidrug-resistant (MDR) strains were identified by MIC analysis followed by genotyping and PCR-based strategies.

Results: Initial MIC analysis identified 31 MDR isolates that displayed an Etest MβL-positive phenotype. Of these, 25 produced either the MβL VIM-1 or IMP-13 as detected by PCR and sequencing. VIM-1-producing isolates were found at all sites, whereas IMP-13-producing isolates were only found in Rome. MβL-producing isolates were found at all Italian SENTRY sites and together amounted to 6.5% of all P. aeruginosa isolates. Genetic analysis indicated that many strains contained multiple integrons and identified two novel MβL integrons, one from the site in Genoa and one from Sicily. Integrons identical in structure and sequence to In70, the first identified and characterized blaVIM-containing integron from Verona, were found in isolates with distinct ribotypes at the Roman and Sicilian sites indicating that this integron has recently disseminated across Italy. All 25 MβL-producing isolates were genetically linked in that all isolates contained Tn5051 sequences and all harboured the insertion sequence IsPa7 which may be involved in the mobilization of these resistance alleles.

Conclusions: Taken together, these results indicate that Italy has a nationwide problem of MDR P. aeruginosa produced by mobile MβL genes.

Keywords: Pseudomonas aeruginosa; IsPa7; Tn5051; integrons; Italy

Journal Article.  6426 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Oncology ; Critical Care

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