This report provides updated recommendations from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) for the control of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) or carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae in acute care (inpatient) facilities.
CDC and HICPAC Recommendations
In light of the clinical and infection control challenges posed by carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) and advances in the ability to detect these pathogens, CDC and HICPAC have developed new guidance for CRE infection prevention and control in an effort to limit the further emergence of these organisms (see Box in original guideline document). These recommendations are based on strategies outlined in the 2006 HICPAC guidelines for management of multidrug-resistant organisms in health-care settings.
All patients colonized or infected with CRE or carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae should be placed on contact precautions. Acute care facilities should establish a protocol, in conjunction with Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) guidelines, to detect nonsusceptibility and carbapenemase production in Enterobacteriaceae, particularly Klebsiella spp. and Escherichia coli, and immediately alert epidemiology and infection control staff members if identified. All acute care facilities should review microbiology records for the preceding 6-12 months to ensure that previously unrecognized CRE cases have not occurred. If previously unrecognized cases are identified, facilities should conduct a point prevalence survey (a single round of active surveillance cultures) in units with patients at high risk (e.g., intensive care units, units where previous cases have been identified, and units where many patients are exposed to broad-spectrum antimicrobials) to identify any additional patients colonized with carbapenem-resistant or carbapenemase-producing Klebsiella spp. and E. coli. The recommended surveillance culture methodology is aimed at detecting carbapenem resistance or carbapenemase production in Klebsiella spp. and E. coli only, because 1) this method facilitates performing the test in the microbiology laboratory without the use of molecular methods and 2) these organisms represent the majority of CRE encountered in the United States. When a case of hospital-associated CRE is identified, facilities should conduct a single round of active surveillance testing of patients with epidemiologic links to the CRE case (e.g., those patients in the same unit or patients who have been cared for by the same health-care personnel).
The goal of active surveillance is to identify undetected carriers of carbapenem-resistant or carbapenemase-producing Klebsiella spp. and E. coli. Identification of other cases among patients with epidemiologic links to persons with confirmed infection suggests patient-to-patient transmission; in such instances, infection prevention measures should be vigorously reinforced, and surveillance cultures repeated periodically (e.g., weekly) until no new cases are identified. Situations where periodic point prevalence surveys repeatedly fail to identify other colonized patients suggest that infection control measures at the facility are effective in controlling transmission. In such instances, consideration should be given to halting active surveillance cultures in response to clinical cases and replacing them with periodic point prevalence surveys in units with patients at high risk to ensure that carbapenem-resistant or carbapenemase-producing Klebsiella spp. and E. coli do not reemerge.
Because the prevalence of CRE is low in the majority of U.S. hospitals, routine microbiologic surveillance of persons admitted, such as that performed in some facilities to detect carriage of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is not recommended. However, in some areas of the United States, notably New York City, CRE are routinely recovered, including from many patients who are admitted from the community. In these settings, point prevalence surveys in response to detected clinical cases might be less useful in controlling transmission of CRE. Facilities in regions where CRE are endemic should monitor clinical cases of CRE and implement the intensified (i.e., Tier 2) infection control strategies outlined in the 2006 HICPAC guidelines if rates of CRE are not decreasing. The challenges to hospitals of allocating additional resources to prevent and control CRE are balanced by the fact that an aggressive infection control strategy, such as that recommended in this report, offers an opportunity to limit the impact of these problematic pathogens while CRE prevalence remains low in most U.S. hospitals.