Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) are carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) that contain enzymes called carbapenemases (e.g. NDM, VIM, IMP, OXA-48, KPC and GES). These enzymes break down the antibiotics and prevent them from killing the bacteria. Examples of carbapenem antibiotics are ertapenem, imipenem, meropenem and doripenem and these are sometimes referred to as a last line of treatment against Gram-negative bacteria. Carbapenemases are carried on plasmids, which are mobile genetic elements and can easily transfer from one bacteria to another, resulting in the aggressive spread of these resistant pathogens. Pathogens harbouring these enzymes are sometimes referred to as “superbugs” because they are generally resistant to most/all other antibiotics and the treatment of infection is very challenging.
What are Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE)?