Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) are an emerging threat to healthcare. Beside the carbapenems – a last-line class of antibiotics – CPE are resistant to most other antibiotics, leaving few options for the treatment of infected patients. In an effort to assess the nature and scale of CPE spread in Europe, a group of European experts is implementing the European Survey on Carbapenemase-Producing Enterobacteriaceae (EuSCAPE). EuSCAPE is funded by ECDC through a specific framework contract
In February 2013, national experts from 39 European countries were invited to self-assess, through an online questionnaire, the current epidemiological situation of CPE as well as to provide information about national management of CPE in their country. Eurosurveillance publishes today a rapid communication on the results of this self-assessment.
CPE continue to spread in Europe. Although most countries only reported single hospital outbreaks, the epidemiological situation, as assessed by experts, has deteriorated in many countries over the past three years. While there is an increasing awareness of the urgency to control CPE, as indicated by the increasing availability of guidance on infection control measures to prevent their spread, 46% of surveyed countries still lacked such guidance.
These first results of EuSCAPE highlight the need for a co-ordinated European effort on early diagnosis, active surveillance, and guidance on infection control measures for CPE. Furthermore, they stress the need for improving laboratory detection of CPE to enable its active surveillance and preventive action through a network of laboratories in Europe.