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<jats:title>ABSTRACT</jats:title> <jats:p>Hospital wastewater is an increasingly recognized reservoir for resistant Gram-negative organisms. Factors involved in establishment and persistence of <jats:named-content content-type="genus-species">Klebsiella pneumoniae</jats:named-content> carbapenemase-producing organisms (KPCOs) in hospital wastewater plumbing are unclear. This study was conducted at a hospital with endemic KPCOs linked to wastewater reservoirs and robust patient perirectal screening for silent KPCO carriage. Over 5 months, both rooms occupied and rooms not occupied by KPCO-positive patients were sampled at three wastewater sites within each room (sink drain, sink P-trap, and toilet or hopper). Risk factors for KPCO positivity were assessed using logistic regression. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) identified environmental seeding by KPCO-positive patients. A total of 219/475 (46%) room sampling events were KPCO positive in at least one wastewater site. KPCO-positive patient exposure was associated with increased risk of environmental positivity for the room and toilet/hopper. Previous positivity and intensive care unit room type were consistently associated with increased risk. Tube feeds were associated with increased risk for the drain, while exposure to patients with <jats:named-content content-type="genus-species">Clostridioides difficile</jats:named-content> was associated with decreased risk. Urinary catheter exposure was associated with increased risk of P-trap positivity. P-trap heaters reduced risk of P-trap and sink drain positivity. WGS identified genomically linked environmental seeding in 6 of 99 room occupations by 40 KPCO-positive patients. In conclusion, KPCO-positive patients seed the environment in at least 6% of opportunities; once positive for KPCOs, wastewater sites are at greater risk of being positive subsequently. Increased nutrient exposure, e.g., due to tube food disposal down sinks, may increase risk; frequent flushing may be protective.</jats:p> <jats:p><jats:bold>IMPORTANCE</jats:bold> <jats:named-content content-type="genus-species">Klebsiella pneumoniae</jats:named-content> carbapenemase-producing organisms (KPCOs) are bacteria that are resistant to most antibiotics and thus are challenging to treat when they cause infections in patients. These organisms can be acquired by patients who are hospitalized for other reasons, complicating their hospital stay and even leading to death. Hospital wastewater sites, such as sink drains and toilets, have played a role in many reported outbreaks over the past decade. The significance of our research is in identifying risk factors for environmental positivity for KPCOs, which will facilitate further work to prevent transmission of these organisms to patients from the hospital environment.</jats:p>

Original publication




Journal article


Applied and Environmental Microbiology


American Society for Microbiology

Publication Date