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A multistate nosocomial outbreak of Ralstonia pickettii colonization associated with an intrinsically contaminated respiratory care solution


From 1 February through 30 April 1998, 4 hospitals reported a total of 34 patients colonized with Ralstonia pickettii. All but 1 had been exposed to 0.9% saline solution manufactured by 1 company (Modudose; Kendall, Mainsfield, MA), which was used during endotracheal suctioning. Culture of saline solution from previously unopened vials yielded R. pickettii. All available product and patient isolates were genotypically related by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) analysis. The contaminated saline solution was manufactured at the same plant that had been associated with a similar outbreak in 1983. The 1983 and 1998 R. pickettii isolates were unrelated, as determined by PFGE. In both 1983 and 1998, a 0. 2-microm cartridge filter was used for terminal sterilization. The detection of R. pickettii should alert hospital personnel to the possibility of product contamination. In this outbreak, prompt notification of public health agencies resulted in rapid notification of other health care providers, which likely prevented additional outbreaks.

Labarca JA, Trick WE, Peterson CL, Carson LA, Holt SC, Arduino MJ, Meylan M, Mascola L, Jarvis WR

Clin. Infect. Dis. 1999 Nov;29(5):1281-6

PMID: 10524976