Emergence of an XDR and carbapenemase-producing hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae strain in Taiwan

Yen Hua Huang, Sheng Hua Chou, Syun Wun Liang, Chung En Ni, Yi Tsung Lin*, Yi Wei Huang, Tsuey Ching Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


Background: Carbapenemase-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae causes high mortality owing to the limited therapeutic options available. Here, we investigated an emergent carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae strain with hypervirulence found among KPC-2-producing strains in Taiwan. Methods: KPC-producing K. pneumoniae strains were collected consecutively from clinical specimens at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital between January 2012 and December 2014. Capsular types and the presence of rmpA/rmpA2 were analysed, and PFGE and MLST performed using these strains. The strain positive for rmpA/rmpA2 was tested in an in vivo mouse lethality study to verify its virulence and subjected to WGS to delineate its genomic features. Results: A total of 62 KPC-2-producing K. pneumoniae strains were identified; all of these belonged to ST11 and capsular genotype K47. One strain isolated from a fatal case with intra-abdominal abscess (TVGHCRE225) harboured rmpA and rmpA2 genes. This strain was resistant to tigecycline and colistin, in addition to carbapenems, and did not belong to the major cluster in PFGE. TVGHCRE225 exhibited high in vivo virulence in the mouse lethality experiment. WGS showed that TVGHCRE225 acquired a novel hybrid virulence plasmid harbouring a set of virulence genes (iroBCDN, iucABCD, rmpA and rmpA2, and iutA) compared with the classic ST11 KPC-2-producing strain. Conclusions: We identified an XDR ST11 KPC-2-producing K. pneumoniae strain carrying a hybrid virulent plasmid in Taiwan. Active surveillance focusing on carbapenem-resistant hypervirulent K. pneumoniae strains is necessary, as the threat to human health is imminent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2039-2046
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2018


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