Identifying Gram-negative Carbapenem-Resistant Bacteria with Dr. Allison McMullen

By Mary Valdez, MS, MT, Product Manager for ID Systems at bioMérieux

Carbapenem antibiotics are last-resort drugs used to treat bacterial infections, but carbapenem-resistant bacteria are on the rise. The 2019 AR Threats Report from the CDC classifies two groups of carbapenem-resistant organisms as “urgent threats,” Acinetobacter and Enterobacteriaceae.  Both groups include multiple species of Gram-negative carbapenem-resistant bacteria and are especially concerning for patients in healthcare facilities or who recently received treatment in healthcare facilities. 

In support of World Antibiotic Awareness week, Dr. Allison McMullen, Ph.D. presented a webinar on November 19, 2019 titled, “Carbapenem-Resistant Gram-negative Bacteria: The Who, the Why, and the How.”

View the Webinar

During this educational webinar, Dr. McMullen defined and differentiated the organisms CRE (Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae), CP-CRE (carbapenemase producing CRE), and CP-GNB (carbapenemase producing Gram negative bacilli), explained why the identification of these are important, and discussed testing methodologies.

While CRE are resistant to any carbapenem antimicrobial, CP-CRE and CP-GNB produce enzymes that inactivate carbapenems. Those types of resistant organisms are transmissible between patients, and the resistance genes that code for the enzymes are transmissible between organisms. It is important to know if a patient is infected with CRE, and which type of CRE, to correctly implement infection prevention and control, epidemiology, and treatment options.

Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter can cause pneumonia and wound, bloodstream, and urinary tract infections.  In the U.S. in 2017, the CDC estimates that 8,500 people were hospitalized and 700 died due to this pathogen.  The numbers for CRE are worse—in the U.S. in 2017, the CDC estimates that 13,100 people were hospitalized, and 1,100 people died.  CRE infections are of major concern because some strains are resistant to nearly all antibiotics, which leaves doctors with more toxic or less effective treatment options.

Timely identification of carbapenem-resistant organisms is crucial to orient antibiotics and save lives.

View the Webinar

Professional Acknowledgment for Continuing Education (P.A.C.E.®) credits are offered for this webinar. bioMérieux, Inc. is approved as a provider of continuing education programs in the clinical laboratory sciences by the ASCLS P.A.C.E.® Program.

Dr. McMullen is an Assistant Professor of Pathology at Augusta University and the Medical Director of the Clinical Microbiology Lab at AU Medical Center.


Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of bioMérieux, Inc.

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