An isolate of Morganella morganii (MMOR1) that tested susceptible to 3rd/ 4th-generation cephalosporins and intermediate to meropenem was characterized as positive for NDM and IMP carbapenemases by NG-Test CARBA 5. Our objective was to further investigate this result, given the inconsistent susceptibility profile and unusual epidemiological profile for our region. The MMOR1 isolate was retested for antimicrobial susceptibilities and characterized for carbapenemase production. MMOR1 tested susceptible to ceftazidime, ceftriaxone, cefepime, aztreonam, and ertapenem, and intermediate to meropenem and imipenem. The isolate tested positive by carbapenem inactivation method (CIM) and CIM1EDTA (eCIM) testing, indicating metallo-b-lactamase production. The isolate tested negative for all carbapenemase genes on Xpert Carba-R, but positive for IMP on repeat testing of NG-Test CARBA 5. Whole-genome sequencing revealed MMOR1 contained blaIMP-27, but no other carbapenemase genes. Additional testing with NG-Test CARBA 5 revealed a false-positive NDM band when the assay was overloaded with test inoculum. Supplementary isolates were tested with an overloaded inoculum (n = 6 M. morganii; n = 1 P. mirabilis; n = 1 IMP-27-producing P. rettgeri; n = 1 IMP-1producing E. coli; n = 1 K. pneumoniae), and two non-carbapenemase-producing carbapenem non-susceptible M. morganii also generated a false-positive NDM band; though, this was not universal among this species. A dual IMP1/NDM1 M. morganii is an unusual result that should prompt additional investigation, especially in nonendemic regions and when the susceptibility profile is incompatible. IMP-27 is not detected by Xpert Carba-R but is variably detected by NG-Test CARBA 5. The microorganism inoculum used for NG-Test CARBA 5 must be carefully controlled for accurate results. IMPORTANCE The detection of carbapenemase-producing carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CP-CRE) is an important function of the clinical microbiology laboratory, where positive identifications have immediate implications for infection control and surveillance strategies in the inpatient setting and can inform appropriate selection of therapy among the various novel anti-CP-CRE agents. NG-Test CARBA 5 is a relatively new lateral flow assay used for detection of carbapenemases in CP-CRE. Here, we describe the characterization of a Morganella morganii isolate that generated a false-positive NDM carbapenemase detection by this assay, and perform bacterial test inoculum experiments with additional isolates to further investigate a cause of false-positive results using the NG-Test CARBA 5. While a lateral flow assay like the NG-Test CARBA 5 is a very desirable test format for clinical laboratories, there are pitfalls to avoid when performing this test and interpreting results, including recognizing an overloaded test assay, which could lead to false-positive results.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMicrobiology spectrum
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2023


  • Enterobacterales
  • IMP-27
  • Morganella morganii
  • NG-Test CARBA 5
  • carbapenemase
  • lateral flow assay
  • metallo-b-lactamase


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