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BACKGROUND: Patients with prolonged hospitalisation have a significant risk of carriage of and subsequent infection with extended spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing and carbapenemase-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae. However, the distinctive roles of the community and hospital environments in the transmission of ESBL-producing or carbapenemase-producing K pneumoniae remain elusive. We aimed to investigate the prevalence and transmission of K pneumoniae within and between the two tertiary hospitals in Hanoi, Viet Nam, using whole-genome sequencing. METHODS: We did a prospective cohort study of 69 patients in intensive care units (ICUs) from two hospitals in Hanoi, Viet Nam. Patients were included if they were aged 18 years or older, admitted for longer than the mean length of stay in their ICU, and cultured K pneumoniae from their clinical samples. Longitudinally collected samples from patients (collected weekly) and the ICU environment (collected monthly) were cultured on selective media, and whole-genome sequences from K pneumoniae colonies analysed. We did phylogenetic analyses and correlated phenotypic antimicrobial susceptibility testing with genotypic features of K pneumoniae isolates. We constructed transmission networks of patient samples, relating ICU admission times and locations with genetic similarity of infecting K pneumoniae. FINDINGS: Between June 1, 2017, and Jan 31, 2018, 69 patients were in the ICUs and eligible for inclusion, and a total of 357 K pneumoniae isolates were cultured and successfully sequenced. 228 (64%) of K pneumoniae isolates carried between two and four different ESBL-encoding and carbapenemase-encoding genes, with 164 (46%) isolates carrying genes encoding both, with high minimum inhibitory concentrations. We found a novel co-occurrence of blaKPC-2 and blaNDM-1 in 46·6% of samples from the globally successful ST15 lineage. Despite being physically and clinically separated, the two hospitals shared closely related strains carrying the same array of antimicrobial resistance genes. INTERPRETATION: These results highlight the high prevalence of ESBL-positive carbapenem-resistant K pneumoniae in ICUs in Viet Nam. Through studying K pneumoniae ST15 in detail, we showed how important resistance genes are contained within these strains that are carried broadly by patients entering the two hospitals directly or through referral. FUNDING: Medical Research Council Newton Fund, Ministry of Science and Technology, Wellcome Trust, Academy of Medical Sciences, Health Foundation, and National Institute for Health and Care Research Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre.

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Lancet Microbe

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