ECDC risk assessment: emergence of hvKp ST23 carrying carbapenemase genes in EU/EEA countries

23 March 2021

Article: 55/1203

A new risk assessment has been published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) which evaluates the risk associated with the dissemination of carbapenemase-producing hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae (hvKp) of sequence type (ST) 23 and other STs in the EU/EEA. The assessment follows reports from Ireland of the isolation of hvKp ST23 from both diagnostic samples and rectal or faecal samples collected for the surveillance of carriage of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacterales (CPE) since March 2019, with two distinct geographical clusters as well as sporadic cases.

Information on further hvKp ST23 isolates detected in the EU/EEA were found, including 26 cases in public databases and 12 which were submitted by National Reference Laboratories (NRLs) in response to a data request to the European Antimicrobial Resistance Genes Surveillance Network (EURGen-Net). The analysis showed that several of the isolates detected in EU/EEA countries after 2012 carried carbapenemase genes, most frequently blaOXA-48.

The ECDC highlight that the emergence of K. pneumoniae isolates with combined hypervirulence and resistance to reserve antibiotics, such as carbapenems, is of concern. In contrast to typical K. pneumoniae strains, hvKp strains are capable of causing severe infections in healthy individuals, often complicated by dissemination to various body sites.

Source: ECDC, 17 March 2021