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Hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae (hvKp) is a significant cause of severe invasive infections in Vietnam, yet data on its epidemiology, population structure and dynamics are scarce. We screened hvKp isolates from patients with bloodstream infections (BSIs) at a tertiary infectious diseases hospital in Vietnam and healthy individuals, followed by whole genome sequencing and plasmid analysis. Among 700 BSI-causing Kp strains, 100 (14.3%) were hvKp. Thirteen hvKp isolates were identified from 350 rectal swabs of healthy adults; none from 500 rectal swabs of healthy children. The hvKp isolates were genetically diverse, encompassing 17 sequence types (STs), predominantly ST23, ST86 and ST65. Among the 113 hvKp isolates, 14 (12.6%) carried at least one antimicrobial resistance (AMR) gene, largely mediated by IncFII, IncR, and IncA/C plasmids. Notably, the acquisition of AMR conjugative plasmids facilitated horizontal transfer of the non-conjugative virulence plasmid between K. pneumoniae strains. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated hvKp isolates from BSIs and human carriage clustered together, suggesting a significant role of intestinal carriage in hvKp transmission. Enhanced surveillance is crucial to understand the factors driving intestinal carriage and hvKp transmission dynamics for informing preventive measures. Furthermore, we advocate the clinical use of our molecular assay for diagnosing hvKp infections to guide effective management.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Commun

Publication Date





Klebsiella pneumoniae, Vietnam, Humans, Plasmids, Klebsiella Infections, Phylogeny, Whole Genome Sequencing, Virulence, Adult, Female, Gene Transfer, Horizontal, Male, Genome, Bacterial, Middle Aged, Anti-Bacterial Agents, Child, Genomics, Drug Resistance, Bacterial