Control of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae outbreaks in acute settings: an evidence review

C. E. French, Caroline Coope*, L. Conway, J. P.T. Higgins, J. McCulloch, G. Okoli, Bharatkumar Patel, Isabel Oliver

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Background In recent years, infections with carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) have been increasing globally and present a major public health challenge. Aim To review the international literature: (i) to describe CPE outbreaks in acute hospital settings globally; and (ii) to identify the control measures used during these outbreaks and report on their effectiveness. Methods A systematic search of MEDLINE and EMBASE databases, abstract lists for key conferences and reference lists of key reviews was undertaken, and information on unpublished outbreaks was sought for 2000–2015. Where relevant, risk of bias was assessed using the Newcastle–Ottawa scale. A narrative synthesis of the evidence was conducted. Findings Ninety-eight outbreaks were eligible. These occurred worldwide, with 53 reports from Europe. The number of cases (CPE infection or colonization) involved in outbreaks varied widely, from two to 803. In the vast majority of outbreaks, multi-component infection control measures were used, commonly including: patient screening; contact precautions (e.g. gowns, gloves); handwashing interventions; staff education or monitoring; enhanced environmental cleaning/decontamination; cohorting of patients and/or staff; and patient isolation. Seven studies were identified as providing the best-available evidence on the effectiveness of control measures. These demonstrated that CPE outbreaks can be controlled successfully using a range of appropriate, commonly used, infection control measures. However, risk of bias was considered relatively high for these studies. Conclusion The findings indicate that CPE outbreaks can be controlled using combinations of existing measures. However, the quality of the evidence base is weak and further high-quality research is needed, particularly on the effectiveness of individual infection control measures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-45
Number of pages43
JournalJournal of Hospital Infection
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The review was supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit in Evaluation of Interventions at the University of Bristol, in partnership with Public Health England (Grant No. IS_HPU_1112_10026). The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the National Health Service, the NIHR, the Department of Health or Public Health England.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016


  • Acute settings
  • Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae
  • Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae
  • Infection control
  • Outbreak


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