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Volume 50, Number 5, October 2017

The plasmid-mediated fosfomycin resistance determinants and synergy of fosfomycin and meropenem in carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates in Taiwan 

Sung-Pin Tseng, Sheng-Fan Wang, Ling Ma, Ting-Yin Wang, Tsung-Ying Yang, L. Kristopher Siu, Yin-Ching Chuang, Pei-Shan Lee, Jann-Tay Wang, Tsu-Lan Wu, Jung-Chung Lin, Po-Liang Lu


Corresponding author:

Po-Liang Lu,
Corresponding author. Department of Internal Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, 100, Shih-Chuan 1st Road, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Fax: +886 7 3228547. 


Background and purpose: 

Epidemiology of fosfomycin susceptibility and the plasmid-mediated fosfomycinase genes of carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (CRKP) isolates in Taiwan remain unclear.



642 CRKP clinical isolates were collected from a nation-wide surveillance study (16 hospitals) in Taiwan in 2012–2013. Antimicrobial susceptibilities were determined. PFGE and MLST determined the clonal relatedness. Carbapenemases and fosfomycinases genes were detected by PCR, and their flanking regions were determined by PCR and sequencing. Synergistic activity of meropenem with fosfomycin was examined by the checkerboard method. 



In total, 36.4% (234/642) of CRKP isolates in Taiwan were resistant to fosfomycin. Among 234 fosfomycin-resistant CRKP isolates, PFGE analysis revealed 81 pulsotypes. Pulsotype XXIII (n = 63) was predominant and belonged to ST11. 71 had carbapnemases (65 blaKPC-2-positive, 1 blaVIM-1-positive and 5 blaIMP-8-positive) and 62 had fosfomycinases (35 fosA3-positive and 27 foskp96-positive). Only 18.5% (5/27) of foskp96-positive isolates carried foskp96 and blaKPC-2, while 71.4% (25/35) of fosA3-positive isolates contained fosA3 and blaKPC-2. There were five types of flanking sequences for fosA3, and 85.7% (30/35) of fosA3 genes were flanked by IS26, suggesting possible horizontal gene transfer. Synergistic effect of fosfomycin and meropenem was observed in all 25 randomly selected pulsotype XXIII strains (100%; 25/25), even those containing fosfomycinase (48%, 12/25) or carbapnemase (96%, 24/25). 



A clone (pulsotype XXIII, ST11) has been found to be prevailing among fosfomycin-resistant CRKP in Taiwan. According to the in vitro data, the combination of fosfomycin and meropenem is a potentially alternative choice. 


Key words:

Fosfomycin, Carbapenem resistance, fosA3, foskp96, blaKPC-2