Infection control implications of heterogeneous resistance mechanisms in carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) based upon a phenotypic demonstration of carbapenem resistance. However, considerable heterogeneity exists within this definitional umbrella. CRE may mechanistically differ by whether they do or do not produce carbapenemases. Moreover, patients can acquire CRE through multiple pathways: endogenously through antibiotic selective pressure on intestinal microbiota, exogenously through horizontal transmission or through a combination of these factors. Some evidence suggests that non-carbapenemase-producing CRE may be more frequently acquired by antibiotic exposure and carbapenemase-producing CRE via horizontal transmission, but definitive data are lacking. This review examines types of CRE resistance mechanisms, antibiotic exposure and horizontal transmission pathways of CRE acquisition, and the implications of these heterogeneities to the development of evidence-based CRE healthcare epidemiology policies. In our Expert Commentary & Five-Year View, we outline specific nosocomial CRE knowledge gaps and potential methodological approaches for their resolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-108
Number of pages14
JournalExpert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2016


  • Antibiotic stewardship (AS)
  • Antimicrobial drug resistance
  • Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE)
  • Carbapenemase
  • Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE)
  • Hospital epidemiology
  • Transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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