Carbapenems are a powerful group of broad spectrum beta-lactam (penicillin-related) antibiotics. In many cases, these are our last effective defence against infections caused by multi-resistant bacteria, such as some strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae and Escherichia coli.
Resistance to carbapenems has emerged and is beginning to spread. New antibiotics need to be developed to counter bacteria with this type of resistance. Hospitals need good infection control to prevent their spread.
Public Health England’s Antimicrobial resistance and healthcare associated infections (AMRHAI) reference unit conducts monitoring and surveillance on antibiotic resistance, and has particular interest in carbapenem-resistant bacteria.