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Rapid/routine Carbapenemase-Producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) Screen (Bacteriology, Oxford Road campus)

In response to the increasing numbers of CPE producing clinical isolates of Enterobacteriaceae the Infection Control Consultant and Microbiology department have produced a protocol for CPE screening and detection. The isolation of a clinical CPE isolate prompts the Infection Prevention and Control Team to screen all possible patient contacts to reduce the transmission of resistance enzymes within the Trust.

Rapid and routine CPE screens are processed on a molecular platform; culture is only performed on positive samples for epidemiological and monitoring purposes.

General information

Collection container (including preservatives):

Swab: Double headed red-topped swab; available from Microbiology. Please note Charcoal swabs are unsuitable for this test and will not be processed.


Specimen type: Screening of faeces/ rectal swabs Samples are stored in Microbiology for 7 days should any additional tests be requested.

Specimen transport: If processing is delayed, refrigeration is preferable to storage at ambient temperature. Delays of over 48hr are undesirable.  

Type and minimum volume of sample: Not applicable

Special precautions: None

Laboratory information

Measurement units: Threshold Cycle (CT)

Biological reference units: Not applicable

Turnaround time: Rapid CPE Screens: Designated wards agreed with IPC

Trafford Transfers: 2 - 4 hours from receipt into Microbiology Reception. The laboratory MUST be telephoned prior to the patient(s) being sampled.

Samples should be received in the laboratory before 6pm (Mon-Fri) and before 4pm (Weekends/Bank Holidays)

Routine CPE Screen: Designated wards agreed with IPC 24-72hrs

Clinical Information

Clinical decision points: Not applicable

Factors known to significantly affect the results: Faecal material must be visible on the cotton tip of the swab; failure to provide faecal material may produce a false negative screening result.

Some faecal products may prove inhibitory to the PCR process; samples will be reported as inhibitory and a repeat will be requested.


(Last reviewed March 21st 2018)