The rapid spread of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae

Robert F. Potter, Alaric W. D'Souza, Gautam Dantas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

186 Scopus citations


Carbapenems, our one-time silver bullet for multidrug resistant bacterial infections, are now threatened by widespread dissemination of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). Successful expansion of Enterobacteriaceae clonal groups and frequent horizontal gene transfer of carbapenemase expressing plasmids are causing increasing carbapenem resistance. Recent advances in genetic and phenotypic detection facilitate global surveillance of CRE diversity and prevalence. In particular, whole genome sequencing enabled efficient tracking, annotation, and study of genetic elements colocalized with carbapenemase genes on chromosomes and on plasmids. Improved characterization helps detail the co-occurrence of other antibiotic resistance genes in CRE isolates and helps identify pan-drug resistance mechanisms. The novel β-lactamase inhibitor, avibactam, combined with ceftazidime or aztreonam, is a promising CRE treatment compared to current colistin or tigecycline regimens. To halt increasing CRE-associated morbidity and mortality, we must continue quality, cooperative monitoring and urgently investigate novel treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-46
Number of pages17
JournalDrug Resistance Updates
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Carbapenem Resistant Enterobacteriaceae
  • Horizontal gene transfer


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