What are CPE?
Carbapenem-producing Enterobacteriacae (CPE) [also known as carbapenemase-resistant Enterobacteriacae (CRE)] is the collective name for a family of microorganisms that have high levels of resistance to antibiotics. Two of the most common bacteria in the Enterobacteriacae family that can develop resistance to carbapenem antibiotics family include Escherichia coli (E. coli), and species of Klebsiella. Others include species of Serratia, Enterobacter, Salmonella and Citrobacter.
CPE are sometimes referred to by the names of the enzymes – the carbapenemases – that break down carbapenem antibiotics such as imipenem, ertapenem, meropenem and doripenem. Three well-known CPE include KPC (Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase), NDM (New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase) and OXA-48. CPE are resistant to many antibiotics, with some being resistant to all or almost all antibiotics. As a result, infections are very difficult to treat; CPE bloodstream infections can kill 1 in 2 patients.
Globally, there are many different carbapenemase-encoding genes and many different resultant carbapenemases. The carbapenemases that are most common in Ontario currently included NDM, KPC, OXA-48 and VIM. 1