Nationwide surveillance of antimicrobial resistance among clinically important Gram-negative bacteria, with an emphasis on carbapenems and colistin: Results from the Surveillance of Multicenter Antimicrobial Resistance in Taiwan (SMART) in 2018.


Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan; Department of Laboratory Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan. Electronic address: [Email]


Multicentre surveillance of antimicrobial susceptibility of clinically important Gram-negative bacteria (GNB) from 16 Taiwanese hospitals was performed. Escherichia coli (n = 398), Klebsiella pneumoniae (n = 346), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (n = 252) and Acinetobacter baumannii complex (ABC) (n = 188) bloodstream isolates, non-typhoidal Salmonella (n = 230) and Shigella flexneri (n = 18) from various sources were collected. Antimicrobial MICs were determined using broth microdilution. Genes encoding K. pneumoniae carbapenemases (KPCs), New Delhi metallo-β-lactamases (NDMs), Verona integron-encoded metallo-β-lactamase (VIM), OXA-48-like carbapenemase (OXA-48) as well as mcr-1-5 genes were detected by molecular methods. Rates of carbapenem non-susceptibility were 2.8%, 9.0%, 0.4%, 0%, 10.3% and 48.8% for E. coli, K. pneumoniae, Salmonella, Shigella, P. aeruginosa and ABC, respectively. For carbapenemases, one (0.3%) E. coli harboured blaNDM-1. Fifteen (4.3%), two (0.6%) and two (0.6%) K. pneumoniae contained blaKPC, blaOXA-48 and blaVIM, respectively. Two (0.5%) E. coli and fourteen (4.0%) K. pneumoniae were non-wild-type according to the colistin MIC. Among Enterobacteriaceae with a colistin MIC ≥ 2 mg/L, mcr-1 was detected in one E. coli, two K. pneumoniae and three Salmonella spp. All three mcr-1-positive Salmonella isolates were collected from community-acquired infections; none of the six mcr-1-positive Enterobacteriaceae were carbapenem-resistant. Carbapenem resistance has increased among clinically important GNB, especially among hospital-acquired infections. blaKPC, especially the blaKPC-2 variant, was detected in approximately one-half of the carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae isolates in this study. Although resistance rates to colistin remained low among Enterobacteriaceae, the finding of mcr-1 from different species raises concern of potential dissemination.