In July 2018, carbapenem-resistant E. coli was isolated from a cluster of six animals that were housed in the Intensive Care Unit at Ryan Hospital. A second cluster of three cases was identified in September 2018, and an additional six cases have been identified through June 2019.
Through our Penn Vet Microbiology Laboratory (PVML), infected patients were quickly identified as having a multi-drug resistant (MDR) infection (typically within 48-72 hours of submission of the samples) and the appropriate precautions were put in place. Owners of these patients were also immediately notified of their pet’s MDR infection status.
The PVML participates with Veterinary Lab Information and Response Network (Vet-LIRN) in a national surveillance project of bacteria isolated from animals. The mechanism of carbapenem-resistance was identified through this passive surveillance program in April 2019. This strain of E. coli has previously been reported from dogs, but never in the United States .
In May 2019, the PVML learned that all CRE organisms isolated at a healthcare facility in Philadelphia were reportable. In order to contribute to protecting public health and fulfill our responsibilities as a healthcare facility, we immediately reported our cases to Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) and began our collaboration with them, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).