Purpose of review
This review provides an overview of gastrointestinal tract colonization with carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE), including risk factors for colonization, determinants for duration of colonization, and whether patients can decolonize, either spontaneously or via targeted interventions.
CPE colonization is disseminating globally with increasing numbers of carbapenemases being identified in increasing patient cohorts. Numerous risk factors including repeated healthcare contact, patient co-morbidities and international travel have all been linked to increased rates of colonization. Duration of colonization has been investigated in various healthcare settings and ranges many months or even years. Although new methods for expediting decolonization are being investigated, including faecal microbiota transplantation, high quality evidence of impact is lacking.
Current evidence indicates that CPE colonization usually persists throughout the duration of most hospital admissions, although the majority of patients will subsequently spontaneously decolonize. Difficulties remain in determining the point at which patients can be considered decolonized because of the lack acceptable criteria for defining eradication. This has significance implications for infection prevention and control measures during the initial and subsequent hospital admissions. Strategies to reduce the healthcare burden of CPE colonization continue to rely predominantly on preventing acquisition, whereas decolonization efforts remain a focus of research.