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Candida parapsilosis bloodstream infections in neonatal intensive care unit patients: epidemiologic and laboratory confirmation of a common source outbreak


BACKGROUND: Candida parapsilosis is a common cause of sporadic and epidemic infections in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). When a cluster of C. parapsilosis bloodstream infections occurred in NICU patients in a hospital in Louisiana, it provided us with the opportunity to conduct an epidemiologic investigation and to apply newly developed molecular typing techniques.

METHODS: A case-patient was defined as any NICU patient at Louisiana State University Medical Center, University Hospital, with a blood culture positive for C. parapsilosis during July 20 to 27, 1991. To identify risk factors for C. parapsilosis bloodstream infection, a cohort study of all NICU infants admitted during July 17 to 27, 1991, was performed. Electrophoretic karyotyping was used to assess the relatedness of C. parapsilosis isolates.

RESULTS: The receipt of liquid glycerin given as a suppository was identified as a risk factor (relative risk, 31.2; 95% confidence intervals, 4.3 to 226.8). Glycerin was supplied to the NICU in a 16-oz multidose bottle. Bottles used at the time of the outbreak were not available for culture. All six available isolates from four case-patients had identical chromosomal banding patterns; six University Hospital non-outbreak isolates had different banding patterns.

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates the utility of combined epidemiologic and laboratory techniques in identifying a novel common source for a C. parapsilosis bloodstream infection outbreak and illustrates that extreme caution should be exercised when using multidose medications in more than one patient.

Welbel SF, McNeil MM, Kuykendall RJ, Lott TJ, Pramanik A, Silberman R, Oberle AD, Bland LA, Aguero S, Arduino M, Crow S, Jarvis WR

Pediatr. Infect. Dis. J. 1996 Nov;15(11):998-1002

PMID: 8933548