The objectives of this study were (i) to determine the genetic basis for carbapenem resistance in multidrug-resistant (MDR) Acinetobacter baumannii strains isolated from patients affected by a sudden increase in the incidence of infections by such organisms in a tertiary care hospital in Virginia, USA, in 2009-2010 and (ii) to examine whether such strains are commonly encountered in the hospital setting.The whole genomes of one outbreak strain as well as one carbapenem-resistant and one carbapenem-sensitive strain from sporadic infections in 2010-2012 were sequenced and analysed. Then, 5 outbreak isolates and 57 sporadic isolates (of which 39 were carbapenem-resistant) were screened by PCR for relevant DNA elements identified in the genomics investigation.All three strains for which whole-genome sequences were obtained carried resistance genes linked to MDR phenotypes and a ca. 111-kbp plasmid (pCMCVTAb1) without drug resistance genes. Of these, the two carbapenem-resistant strains possessed a ca. 74-kbp plasmid (pCMCVTAb2) carrying a Tn2008 transposon that provides high-level carbapenem resistance. PCR analysis showed that all of the outbreak isolates carried both plasmids and Tn2008, and of the sporadic isolates 88% carried pCMCVTAb1, 25% contained pCMCVTAb2 and 50% of the latter group carried Tn2008.Carbapenem resistance in outbreak strains and 12% of sporadic isolates was due to the pCMCVTAb2-borne Tn2008. This is the first report of a Tn2008-driven outbreak of carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii infections in the Commonwealth of Virginia, which followed similar cases in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Copyright © 2017 International Society for Chemotherapy of Infection and Cancer. All rights reserved.
Journal: Journal of global antimicrobial resistance