Outbreak of Carbapenemase-Producing Enterobacteriaceae in a Regional Burn Center Journal Articles uri icon

  • Overview
  • Research
  • Identity
  • Additional Document Info
  • View All


  • Abstract Antimicrobial resistance is an increasing problem in hospitals worldwide; however, the prevalence of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) in our region is low. Burn patients are vulnerable to infection because of the loss of the protective skin barrier, thus burn centers prioritize infection prevention and control (IP&C). This report describes a CPE outbreak in a regional burn center. In a period of 2.5 months, four nosocomial cases of CPE were identified, three containing the Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC) gene and one Verona integrin-encoded metallo-β-lactamase (VIM) gene. The first two cases were identified while there was no CPE patient source on the unit. CPE KPC gene was then isolated in sink drains of three rooms. In addition to rigorous IP&C practices already in place, we implemented additional outbreak measures including restricting admissions to patients with complex burns or burns ≥10% TBSA, admitting patients to other in-patient units, and not permitting elective admissions. We began cohorting patients using nursing team separation for CPE-positive and -negative patients and geographical separation on the unit. Despite aggressive IP&C measures already in place, hospital-acquired CPE colonization/infection occurred. Given that CPE contaminated sinks of the same enzyme were identified, we believe hospital sink drains may the source. This highlights the importance of sink design and engineering solutions to prevent the formation of biofilm and reduce splashing. CPE infections are associated with poor outcomes in patients and significant health system costs due to a longer length of stay and additional institutional resources.


  • Rehou, Sarah
  • Rotman, Sydney
  • Avaness, Melisa
  • Salt, Natasha
  • Jeschke, Marc
  • Shahrokhi, Shahriar

publication date

  • September 1, 2022