Aim: This study reports the characterization of carbapenem-resistant colonizing strains of K. pneumoniae. Methods: 650 stool samples were screened for carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae (CR-Kp). All strains were characterized for antibiotic susceptibility, typing features, main carbapenemases and extendedspectrum ß-lactamases. The carbapenemase transferability was assessed by interspecific conjugation. Results: Eighteen CR-Kp were multidrug-resistant; five were KPC-producing. A predominance of ST307 isolates, constituting the predominant cluster by PFGE analysis, was identified (50% were KPC-2 producers). Conjugation data showed the co-transfer of blaKPC-2, blaTEM-1, blaOXA-1, blaCTX-M-15 in a single large pKPN3-like plasmid. Conclusion: Our data pointed out the diversity of colonizing K. pneumoniae strains compared with clinical ones. The predominance of ST307 strains suggested an increased spreading, even in our area, of this high-risk clone.
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