Klebsiella pneumoniae (KP) resistance to broad-spectrum cephalosporin (BSC) in meningitis is important because of limited therapeutic options. To investigate the antibiotic resistance, virulence and epidemiology of KP in meningitis, we conducted a retrospective study for 33 non-metastatic isolates, including primary meningitis (n = 20) and post-craniotomy meningitis (n = 13) collected from 1999 to 2013. BSC resistance was found in 9 (27.3%) isolates, all from post-craniotomy meningitis, harboring bla SHV-5 (n = 6), bla CMY-2 (n = 2), bla DHA-1 (n = 2), and bla TEM-1B (n = 1). Positive virulence factors were hypermucoviscosity (n = 22), larger bacterial size (n = 24), virulent capsule serotypes (n = 24, K2, 11; K1, 5; K57, 3; K5, 2; K20, 2 and K54, 1), rmpA (n = 23), rmpA 2 (n = 20), aerobactin gene (n = 22) and high-grade serum resistance (n = 23, 69.7%). Higher mouse lethality (LD50 < 106) was found in 16 isolates (48.5%). Post-craniotomy isolates were significantly less virulent than primary meningitis isolates, except for similar serum resistance capability. The pulsotype and sequence typing (ST) results were diverse. A minor cluster with pulsotype C and ST23 (n = 5) was identified in primary meningitis isolates. In conclusion, virulence factors and BSC resistance corresponded to about 70% and 30% of KP meningitis isolates respectively. BSC remains appropriate for treating primary meningitis, whereas meropenem is indicated for post-craniotomy meningitis empirically.
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