Handwashing sinks as the source of transmission of ST16 carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, an international high-risk clone, in ICU

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Yu Feng
  • Li Wei
  • Shichao Zhu
  • Fu Qiao
  • Xiaoxia Zhang
  • Yan Kang
  • Lin Cai
  • Mei Kang
  • Zhiyong Zong

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Sichuan University
  • State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy


Carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (CRKP) isolates (carrying the carbapenemase gene bla NDM-5) of sequence type 16 caused hospital-acquired bloodstream infection or gut colonization in two patients in an intensive care unit (ICU). It was hypothesized that handwashing sinks were the source, and all handwashing sinks in the ICU were sampled. Whole-genome sequencing and analysis revealed that one sink was the source of CRKP colonization/infection in both patients, instead of direct transmission of a common clone between the patients. This study highlights handwashing sinks as an important source of multi-drug-resistant organisms. Sink management, including prohibition of disposal of body fluids and daily disinfection with chlorine, curbed the transmission.

Bibliographic note

Copyright © 2019 The Healthcare Infection Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of hospital infection
Early online date10 Oct 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Oct 2019


  • sinks, carbapenemases, carbapenem resistance, Klebsiella pneumoniae