Molecular epidemiology of carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa in an endemic area: comparison with global data

  • Theodoros Karampatakis
  • Charalampos Antachopoulos
  • Athanassios Tsakris
  • Emmanuel Roilides


Carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (CRPA) is an endemic problem in certain countries including Greece. CRPA and multidrug-resistant P. aeruginosa (MDRPA) firstly emerged in our region during the 80s, right after the launch of imipenem and meropenem as therapeutic agents against P. aeruginosa infections. The role of outer membrane protein (Opr) inactivation has been known to contribute to imipenem resistance since many years, while efflux overexpression systems have been mainly associated with meropenem resistance. Among carbapenemases, metallo-β-lactamases (MBL) and mostly Verona integron-mediated (VIM) MBL’s have played the most crucial role in CRPA emergence. VIM-2 and VIM-4 producing CRPA, usually belonging to clonal complexes (CC) 111 and 235 respectively, have most frequently been isolated. BlaVIM-2 and blaVIM-4 are usually associated with a class 1 integron. VIM-17 also has appeared in Greece. On the other hand, other VIM subtypes detected in a global level, such as VIM-3, VIM-5, VIM-6, VIM-7, VIM-11, VIM-14, VIM-15, VIM-16 and VIM-18 have not yet emerged in Greece. However, new VIM subtypes will probably emerge in the future. In addition, MBL carbapenemases other than VIM, detected worldwide have not yet appeared. A single CRPA isolate producing KPC has emerged in our region several years ago. The study of the molecular basis of Opr deficiency and efflux overexpression remains a challenge for the future. In this article, we review the molecular epidemiology of CRPA in an endemic area, compared to global data.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa Carbapenem resistance Molecular epidemiology Endemic area Greece 



The authors would like to thank Vassiliki Pentsioglou and Georgia Kythreotou for epidemiologic data handling and their valuable collaboration.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no relevant affiliation or financial involvement with any organization or entity with a financial interest in or financial conflict with the subject matter discussed in the manuscript.

Ethical approval

Not applicable.

Informed consent

Not applicable.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Infectious Diseases Unit, 3rd Department of Pediatrics, Medical Faculty, School of Health Sciences, Hippokration General HospitalThessalonikiGreece
  2. 2.Microbiology DepartmentNational and Kapodistrian University School of MedicineAthensGreece

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