Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Abstract Background Hospital outbreaks of carbapenemase-producing organisms, such as blaIMP-4-containing organisms, are an increasing threat to patient safety. Objectives To investigate the genomic dynamics of a 10 year (2006–15) outbreak of blaIMP-4-containing organisms in a burns unit in a hospital in Sydney, Australia. Methods All carbapenem-non-susceptible or MDR clinical isolates (2006–15) and a random selection of equivalent or ESBL-producing environmental isolates (2012–15) were sequenced [short-read (Illumina), long-read (Oxford Nanopore Technology)]. Sequence data were used to assess genetic relatedness of isolates (Mash; mapping and recombination-adjusted phylogenies), perform in silico typing (MLST, resistance genes and plasmid replicons) and reconstruct a subset of blaIMP plasmids for comparative plasmid genomics. Results A total of 46/58 clinical and 67/96 environmental isolates contained blaIMP-4. All blaIMP-4-positive organisms contained five or more other resistance genes. Enterobacter cloacae was the predominant organism, with 12 other species mainly found in either the environment or patients, some persisting despite several cleaning methods. On phylogenetic analysis there were three genetic clusters of E. cloacae containing both clinical and environmental isolates, and an additional four clusters restricted to either reservoir. blaIMP-4 was mostly found as part of a cassette array (blaIMP-4-qacG2-aacA4-catB3) in a class 1 integron within a previously described IncM2 plasmid (pEl1573), with almost complete conservation of this cassette across the species over the 10 years. Several other plasmids were also implicated, including an IncF plasmid backbone not previously widely described in association with blaIMP-4. Conclusions Genetic backgrounds disseminating blaIMP-4 can persist, diversify and evolve amongst both human and environmental reservoirs during a prolonged outbreak despite intensive prevention efforts.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy


Oxford University Press (OUP)

Publication Date





873 - 882