Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacterales (CPE) Infection Control

Enterobacterales are a type of Gram-negative bacteria (germ) which normally live in our bowel. In some people these germs are resistant to a class of antibiotic called carbapenems, and these resistant germs are called Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacterales (CPE). Carbapenems are antibiotics that are used as a last resort when patients have serious infections that are resistant to most other treatments. CPE can live harmlessly in the bowel but can cause infection if introduced into normally sterile sites such as the bladder or blood.

Current situation in South Australia

Flinders Medical Centre (FMC) have recently identified a small cluster of patients who have CPE. As a proactive preventative action, SA Health is recommending patients currently being transferred from FMC directly to another hospital, healthcare or residential care facility are screened for CPE.

For further information related to this situation at FMC, see Health Alerts page.

Screening & alerting recommendations for CPE contacts and direct transfers

All adult patients currently being discharged from FMC directly to another hospital, healthcare facility or a residential care facility are being encouraged to have a routine screening for CPE as a precautionary measure against infection.

Screening and alerting recommendations have been detailed in the following Quick Reference Guides.

Quick reference guides (QRG)

  1. Infection control screening and alerting of CPE contacts (PDF 115KB)
  2. Infection control CPE screening of direct transfers from an identified transmission risk healthcare facility (HCF) (PDF 51KB).

Consumer information

  1. Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacterales (CPE) screening: Temporary recommendations for direct adult patient transfers from Flinders Medical Centre (FMC) to another healthcare or residential care facility consumer information sheet (PDF 72KB)
  2. The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare (ACSQHC) Consumer information sheet.

Patient management recommendations for CPE

Infection control recommendations for patients with CPE have been detailed in the following Quick Reference Guides.

  1. Patient management in the acute healthcare facilities (PDF 72KB)
  2. Patient management in residential care facilities (PDF 88KB)


CPE was made temporarily notifiable in South Australia in October 2019 (until further notice).  Refer to the Public Health Alert

Further information

For further information on prevention of healthcare associated infection, contact SA Health's Infection Control Service.

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