The emergence of carbapenemase producing Enterobacteriaceae has raised major public health concern. The aim of this study was to investigate the molecular epidemiology and the mechanism of carbapenem resistance acquisition of multidrug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates from 20 neonates in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of the V. Monaldi Hospital in Naples, Italy, from April 2015 to March 2016. Genotype analysis by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) identified PFGE type A and subtypes A1 and A2 in 17, 2, and 1 isolates, respectively, and assigned all isolates to sequence type (ST) 104. K. pneumoniae isolates were resistant to all classes of β-lactams including carbapenems, fosfomycin, gentamicin, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, but susceptible to quinolones, amikacin, and colistin. Conjugation experiments demonstrated that resistance to third-generation cephems and imipenem could be transferred along with an IncA/C plasmid containing the extended spectrum β-lactamase blaSHV -12 and carbapenem-hydrolyzing metallo-β-lactamase blaV IM-1 genes. The plasmid that we called pIncAC_KP4898 was 156,252 bp in size and included a typical IncA/C backbone, which was assigned to ST12 and core genome (cg) ST12.1 using the IncA/C plasmid MLST (PMLST) scheme. pIncAC_KP4898 showed a mosaic structure with blaV IM-1 into a class I integron, blaSHV -12 flanked by IS6 elements, a mercury resistance and a macrolide 2'-phosphotransferase clusters, ant(3″), aph(3″), aacA4, qnrA1, sul1, and dfrA14 conferring resistance to aminoglycosides, quinolones, sulfonamides, and trimethoprim, respectively, several genes predicted to encode transfer functions and proteins involved in DNA transposition. The acquisition of pIncAC_KP4898 carrying blaV IM-1 and blaSHV -12 contributed to the spread of ST104 K. pneumoniae in the NICU of V. Monaldi Hospital in Naples.
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