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Enterobacter cloacae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa polymicrobial bloodstream infections traced to extrinsic contamination of a dextrose multidose vial


OBJECTIVE: To identify risk factors for polymicrobial bloodstream infections (BSIs) in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) patients during an outbreak of BSIs.

DESIGN: During an outbreak of BSIs, we conducted a retrospective cohort study, assessed NICU infection control practices and patient exposure to NICU healthcare workers (HCWs), and obtained cultures of the environment and HCW hands.

PATIENTS: During the period May 3 to 7, 1996, 5 infants contracted BSIs caused by both Enterobacter cloacae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and one infant contracted a BSI caused by E cloacae only. For each pathogen, all isolates were identical on DNA typing.

RESULTS: Infants exposed to the following were more likely than nonexposed infants to have BSI: umbilical venous catheters (6/14 vs 0/7, P = .05), total parenteral nutrition given simultaneously with a dextrose/electrolyte solution (6/12 vs 0/9, P = .02), or one HCW (5/7 vs 1/13, P = .007). Neither environmental nor HCW hand cultures yielded the outbreak pathogens. Quality control cultures of intravenous solution bags were negative.

CONCLUSIONS: We speculate that a dextrose multidose vial became contaminated during manipulation or needle puncture and that successive use of this contaminated vial for multiple patients may have been responsible for BSIs. Aseptic techniques must be employed when multidose vial medications are used. Single-dose vials should be used for parenteral additives whenever possible to reduce the risk of extrinsic contamination and subsequent transmission of nosocomial pathogens.

Archibald LK, Ramos M, Arduino MJ, Aguero SM, Deseda C, Banerjee S, Jarvis WR

J. Pediatr. 1998 Nov;133(5):640-4

PMID: 9821421