A total of 8 Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates was collected from 7 different patients in different wards of the University Hospital of Verona, Italy, from February 1997 to February 1998. The high level of resistance to carbapenems (imipenem minimum inhibitory concentration was always >128 μg/mL) and other broad-spectrum β-lactams and the rate of imipenem hydrolysis and its inhibition by ethylenediamine-tetra-acetic acid were all suggestive of production of a carbapenem-hydrolyzing metallo-β-lactamase. A specific DNA probe derived from the recently cloned blaVIM-1 gene hybridized to all the isolates. A genomic DNA finger-printing profile revealed clonal relatedness for 7 of 8 isolates. A description of this hospital outbreak is reported, the occurrence of which confirms that proliferation of metallo-β-lactamase-producing strains multiply resistant to β-lactams is already a reality outside Japan. These findings emphasize the need for early recognition of similar isolates.
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