European countries are reporting an increase in Escherichia coli isolates carrying the blaNDM-5 gene that makes them resistant to carbapenems, a class of antibiotics that are often used as a last resort to treat serious E coli infections, according to a report yesterday from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
Preliminary data from 36 European countries in 2019 had shown that NDM (New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase)-5 had become the most frequently reported carbapenemase in E coli isolates. The aim of the new study was to determine the extent of the spread of the resistance gene in E coli in the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA).
European researchers analyzed whole-genome sequencing and epidemiologic data on 874 E coli isolates from the national collections of 13 countries and confirmed the increase of E coli isolates carrying blaNDM-5, finding it in 83 different sequence types (STs). They note, "The high number and the large size of multi-country clusters in the dataset, including recent isolates from 2022, suggest an ongoing rapid global expansion of these dominant E. coli STs carrying blaNDM-5, including the EU/EEA."
Links to travel common
They also found that 84.2% of patients infected with E coli isolates carrying blaNDM-5 had links to a country outside of Europe, mainly in Africa and Asia. "This suggests that travel-related acquisition may still be the most likely origin of these isolates," the author write.
There is a risk that the number of cases of carbapenem-resistant E. coli infections will increase in the EU/EEA.
An ECDC news release on the report says, "E. coli carrying blaNDM-5 are spreading rapidly and on a large geographical scale, and there is a risk that the number of cases of carbapenem-resistant E. coli infections will increase in the EU/EEA within a few years."
A Eurosurveillance study of the data, also published yesterday, notes that 30.6% of the NDM-5 isolates were associated with infections, and 58.2% were predicted to be multidrug-resistant.