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Author: Rosa R et al. (2014) Source: Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2014 Apr; 35(4): 430–433.


Rosa R et al. (2014)

Environmental exposure to carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii as a risk factor for patient acquisition of A. baumannii.

Background: Acinetobacter baumannii is a Gram-negative bacterium that gains in importance as nosocomial pathogen particularly in intensive care units. It primarily causes pneumonia, bacteraemia and surgical site infection. Contaminated surfaces in the clinical setting play a role in the horizontal transmission of the pathogen from colonised to non-colonised patients. Against this background, the authors examined the risk of patients to acquire carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii in case the environmental surfaces have been proven to be contaminated.

Method: The 13-month study was conducted in 2011 and 2012 in five intensive care units of a teaching hospital with 1 500 beds (Florida, U.S.). During the study, carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii was endemic. Every week, the researchers took samples from bedframes, bedside tables, infusion pumps and control surfaces on ventilation equipment to examine them for contamination with A. baumannii. In addition, weekly surveillance samples were taken from each patient and examined for the pathogen.

Results: A total of 562 patients were identified not to be colonised with A. baumannii when admitted to the intensive care unit and environmental samples were taken. During their stay, 61 of these patients (10.8 %) acquired carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii and 33 of them (5.9 %) were exposed to environmental contamination with this pathogen. Environmental contamination with A. baumannii significantly increased the risk of acquiring the pathogen by a factor of 2.77.

Conclusions: Inanimate near-patient surfaces are an important reservoir for the transmission of antibiotic-resistant pathogens. The authors emphasise the necessity of an early prevention of the transmission to preclude the spread of A. baumannii in intensive care units.

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2014 Apr; 35(4): 430–433.

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