Prevalence and clonal diversity of carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae causing neonatal infections: A systematic review of 128 articles across 30 countries

Ya Hu, Yongqiang Yang, Yu Feng, Qingqing Fang, Chengcheng Wang, Feifei Zhao, Alan McNally, Zhiyong Zong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background: Klebsiella pneumoniae is the most common pathogen causing neonatal infections, leading to high mortality worldwide. Along with increasing antimicrobial use in neonates, carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae (CRKP) has emerged as a severe challenge for infection control and treatment. However, no comprehensive systematic review is available to describe the global epidemiology of neonatal CRKP infections. We therefore performed a systematic review of available data worldwide and combined a genome-based analysis to address the prevalence, clonal diversity, and carbapenem resistance genes of CRKP causing neonatal infections.

Methods and findings: We performed a systematic review of studies reporting population-based neonatal infections caused by CRKP in combination with a genome-based analysis of all publicly available CRKP genomes with neonatal origins. We searched multiple databases (PubMed, Web of Science, Embase, Ovid MEDLINE, Cochrane, bioRxiv, and medRxiv) to identify studies that have reported data of neonatal CRKP infections up to June 30, 2022. We included studies addressing the prevalence of CRKP infections and colonization in neonates but excluded studies lacking the numbers of neonates, the geographical location, or independent data on Klebsiella or CRKP isolates. We used narrative synthesis for pooling data with JMP statistical software. We identified 8,558 articles and excluding those that did not meet inclusion criteria. We included 128 studies, none of which were preprints, comprising 127,583 neonates in 30 countries including 21 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) for analysis. We found that bloodstream infection is the most common infection type in reported data. We estimated that the pooled global prevalence of CRKP infections in hospitalized neonates was 0.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.2% to 0.3%). Based on 21 studies reporting patient outcomes, we found that the pooled mortality of neonatal CRKP infections was 22.9% (95% CI, 13.0% to 32.9%). A total of 535 neonatal CRKP genomes were identified from GenBank including Sequence Read Archive, of which 204 were not linked to any publications. We incorporated the 204 genomes with a literature review for understanding the species distribution, clonal diversity, and carbapenemase types. We identified 146 sequence types (STs) for neonatal CRKP strains and found that ST17, ST11, and ST15 were the 3 most common lineages. In particular, ST17 CRKP has been seen in neonates in 8 countries across 4 continents. The vast majority (75.3%) of the 1,592 neonatal CRKP strains available for analyzing carbapenemase have genes encoding metallo-β-lactamases and NDM (New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase) appeared to be the most common carbapenemase (64.3%). The main limitation of this study is the absence or scarcity of data from North America, South America, and Oceania.

Conclusions: CRKP contributes to a considerable number of neonatal infections and leads to significant neonatal mortality. Neonatal CRKP strains are highly diverse, while ST17 is globally prevalent and merits early detection for treatment and prevention. The dominance of blaNDM carbapenemase genes imposes challenges on therapeutic options in neonates and supports the continued inhibitor-related drug discovery.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1004233
Number of pages30
JournalPLoS Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2023


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