Whole genome sequencing characterization of Slovenian carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, including OXA-48 and NDM-1 producing outbreak isolates

Katarina Benulič*, Mateja Pirš, Natacha Couto, Monika Chlebowicz, John W A Rossen, Tomaž Mark Zorec, Katja Seme, Mario Poljak, Tatjana Lejko Zupanc, Eva Ružić-Sabljić, Tjaša Cerar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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The first hospital outbreak of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae in Slovenia occurred in 2014-2016. Whole genome sequencing was used to analyse the population of carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae collected in Slovenia in 2014-2017, including OXA-48 and/or NDM-1 producing strains from the outbreak.


A total of 32 K. pneumoniae isolates were analysed using short-read sequencing. Multilocus sequence typing and core genome multi-locus sequence typing were used to infer genetic relatedness. Antimicrobial resistance markers, virulence factors, plasmid content and wzi types were determined. Long-read sequencing was used for six isolates for detailed analysis of plasmids and their possible transmission.


Overall, we detected 10 different sequence types (STs), the most common being ST437 (40.6%). Isolates from the initial outbreak belonged to ST437 (12/16) and ST147 (4/16). A second outbreak of four ST15 isolates was discovered. A new ST (ST3390) and two new wzi types (wzi-556, wzi-559) were identified. blaOXA-48 was found in 17 (53.1%) isolates, blaNDM-1 in five (15.6%), and a combination of blaOXA-48/NDM-1 in seven (21.9%) isolates. Identical plasmids carrying blaOXA-48 were found in outbreak isolates sequenced with long-read sequencing technology.


Whole genome sequencing of Slovenian carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae isolates revealed multiple clusters of STs, two of which were involved in the first hospital outbreak of carbapenem producing K. pneumoniae in Slovenia. Transmission of the plasmid carrying blaOXA-48 between two STs was likely to have occurred. A previously unidentified second outbreak was also discovered, highlighting the importance of whole genome sequencing in detection and/or characterization of hospital outbreaks and surveillance of drug-resistant bacterial clones.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0231503
Pages (from-to)e0231503
Number of pages14
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 13-Apr-2020



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