Epidemic diffusion of OXA-23-producing acinetobacter baumannii isolates in Italy: Results of the first cross-sectional countrywide survey

Luigi Principe, Aurora Piazza, Tommaso Giani, Silvia Bracco, Maria Sofia Caltagirone, Fabio Arena, Elisabetta Nucleo, Federica Tammaro, Gian Maria Rossolini, Laura Pagani, Francesco Luzzaro, G. Gesu, A. Toniolo, R. Serra, B. Pini, G. Fortina, M. Mori, P. A. Dusi, R. Fontana, R. AschbacherM. Sarti, F. Rumpianesi, P. Pecile, G. M. Rossolini, A. Mencacci, E. Manso, M. Tronci, P. Fazii, M. Labonia, M. Pizzolante, G. Amato, P. Buonopane, C. Giraldi, P. G. Conaldi, S. Stefani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (CRAb) is emerging worldwide as a public health problem in various settings. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of CRAb isolates in Italy and to characterize their resistance mechanisms and genetic relatedness. A countrywide cross-sectional survey was carried out at 25 centers in mid-2011. CRAb isolates were reported from all participating centers, with overall proportions of 45.7% and 22.2% among consecutive nonreplicate clinical isolates of A. baumannii from inpatients (n = 508) and outpatients (n = 63), respectively. Most of them were resistant to multiple antibiotics, whereas all remained susceptible to colistin, with MIC50 and MIC90 values of ≤0.5 mg/liter. The genes coding for carbapenemase production were identified by PCR and sequencing. OXA-23 enzymes (found in all centers) were by far the most common carbapenemases (81.7%), followed by OXA-58 oxacillinases (4.5%), which were found in 7 of the 25 centers. In 6 cases, CRAb isolates carried both blaOXA-23-like and blaOXA-58-like genes. A repetitive extragenic palindromic (REP)-PCR technique, multiplex PCRs for group identification, and multilocus sequence typing (MLST) were used to determine the genetic relationships among representative isolates (n = 55). Two different clonal lineages were identified, including a dominant clone of sequence type 2 (ST2) related to the international clone II (sequence group 1 [SG1], SG4, and SG5) and a clone of ST78 (SG6) previously described in Italy. Overall, our results demonstrate that OXA-23 enzymes have become the most prevalent carbapenemases and are now endemic in Italy. In addition, molecular typing profiles showed the presence of international and national clonal lineages in Italy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3004-3010
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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