Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (CRAb) is a major cause of health care-associated infections. CRAb is typically multidrug resistant, and infection is difficult to treat. Despite the urgent threat that CRAb poses, few systematic studies of CRAb clinical and molecular epidemiology have been conducted. The Study Network of Acinetobacter as a Carbapenem-Resistant Pathogen (SNAP) is designed to investigate the clinical characteristics and contemporary population structure of CRAb circulating in U.S. hospital systems using whole-genome sequencing (WGS). Analysis of the initial 120 SNAP patients from four U.S. centers revealed that CRAb remains a significant threat to hospitalized patients, affecting the most vulnerable patients and resulting in 24% all-cause 30-day mortality. The majority of currently circulating isolates belonged to ST2Pas, a part of clonal complex 2 (CC2), which is the dominant drug-resistant lineage in the United States and Europe. We identified three distinct sublineages within CC2, which differed in their antibiotic resistance phenotypes and geographic distribution. Most concerning, colistin resistance (38%) and cefiderocol resistance (10%) were common within CC2 sublineage C (CC2C), where the majority of isolates belonged to ST2Pas/ST281Ox. Additionally, we identified ST499Pas as the most common non-CC2 lineage in our study. Our findings suggest a shift within the CRAb population in the United States during the past 10 years and emphasize the importance of real-time surveillance and molecular epidemiology in studying CRAb dissemination and clinical impact.
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