Epidemiology of an outbreak due to glycopeptide-resistant Enterococcus faecium on a leukaemia unit.
AffiliationPublic Health Laboratory, Withington Hospital, Manchester, UK.
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AbstractThe clinical and molecular epidemiology of two clusters of colonization and infection of patients by glycopeptide-resistant enterococci (GRE) on a leukaemia and bone marrow transplantation unit was studied over a two-and-a half-year period. Thirty-five patients became colonized, of whom six developed clinical infections. Of the 53 isolates of GRE, 49 were Enterococcus faecium, multiply-resistant to vancomycin and ampicillin. DNA fingerprinting of 48 E. faecium isolates by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis identified six DNA types. One strain of VanB phenotype E. faecium predominated during the initial outbreak, and an unrelated strain of the VanA phenotype was present in a second cluster. Environmental and patient isolates of E. faecium were indistinguishable by DNA typing. The VanA phenotype enterococci probably arose by transfer from the renal ward at a nearby hospital, and a patient with persistent diarrhoea may have contributed to contamination and cross-infection. GRE may cause significant infections in immunocompromised patients, and are readily transmitted between them. GRE were controlled, but not eradicated on the unit; infection control measures included improved environmental cleaning and modification of antibiotic use. In order to control GRE, it is necessary to educate healthcare workers and implement the traditional, effective values of good personal hygiene and environmental cleanliness.
CitationEpidemiology of an outbreak due to glycopeptide-resistant Enterococcus faecium on a leukaemia unit. 1996, 34 (3):171-82 J. Hosp. Infect.
JournalThe Journal of Hospital Infection
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