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April 2012, Volume 42 Number 4 , p 67 - 68


  • Shilla Patel OD, CIC


CARBAPENEMASES ARE carbapenem-hydrolyzing beta-lactamases produced by some bacteria that allow them to become resistant to penicillins, cephalosporins (such as cefazolin, cefuroxime, ceftriaxone, and cefepime), and carbapenems (such as imipenem, meropenem, ertapenem, and doripenem). These antibiotics are used to treat life-threatening infections, and increased resistance to them is a worldwide problem.1A new form of carbapenemase that's highly resistant to antibiotics and easily transmitted has recently been identified: New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase-1 (NDM-1). It was first described in a Swedish patient who contracted a Klebsiella pneumoniae infection while in India in late 2007.2 It was first thought to be a nosocomial pathogen limited to hospitals in India. Since then, environmental studies in India have shown widespread contamination by NDM-1-encoded bacteria that's circulating in the community as well as healthcare settings.2NDM-1 isn't the first carbapenemase to be identified.

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