Carbapenamase-Producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) screen



 Carbapenem resistant bacteria growing on an agar plate

  • Carbapenamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) are resistant not only to carbapenems (considered “last resort” antibiotics) but also all penicillin-type antibiotics and cephalosporins. CPE also commonly carry resistance genes to other groups of non-beta-lactam antibiotics, making them highly multiply resistant and extremely difficult to treat with antibiotics when patients have clinical infections caused by these bacteria.
  • Screening is undertaken according to risk assessment on admission - see CPE: Prevent. Detect. Control  (Trust users only)
  • See Infection Control policy "Multi-drug resistant bacteria (excluding MRSA): management of infected or colonised patients"
  • All potential CPE isolates are referred to the National Reference Laboratory for confirmation.
  • The following samples are required:
    • Rectal swab (or stool sample if a rectal swab is not possible)
    • Wounds and entry sites
    • Urine if catheterised

Sample requirements


Rectal swab and any wounds or entry sites

There should be visible faecal material on a rectal swab

Standard charcoal transport swab

Place swab in transport medium



Stool samples may be used in place of a rectal swab

Stool container with spoon


Urine samples may be sent in either red or white capped 30 mL sterile universal containers


Charcoal transport swab

Stool container with spoon

Required information

  • Risk factors
  • Recent relevant hospital admissions
  • Relevant overseas health care
  • Known previous colonisation/infection with CPE
  • Contact with colonised patients


Store and transport at room temperature

Turnaround time

Negative: 2-3 days

Positive: 2-4 days for provisional result, Reference laboratory confirmation will take longer.

Page last reviewed: 23/08/2014