Molecular Typing Plays Key Role in the Comprehension of Outbreak Dynamics

Acinetobacter baumannii is an opportunistic pathogen that has become a major cause of concern, since it is a frequent cause of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). The aim of the study by Bianco, et al. (2016) was to describe the occurrence, the management and the control of an outbreak that occurred in an intensive care unit (ICU) of a teaching hospital in Southern Italy caused by multiple strains of extensively drug-resistant A. baumannii (XDRAB).

Case-patient was defined as a patient with an healthcare-associated infection caused by an XDRAB isolate identified in a clinically significant culture. Environmental samples were collected from different surfaces. The isolates were identified by typical Gram stain morphology, using the Vitek 2 system (bioMérieux, France) and by MALDI-TOF MS mass spectrometry (bioMèrieux, France). Genotyping was performed through rep-PCR analysis.

A patient presented an XDRAB ventilator-associated pneumonia at admission and was managed with strict isolation precautions until discharge. Five patients had a ventilator-associated pneumonia and two had a central line-associated bloodstream infection. Of the environmental samples, one sample obtained from the side of the bed of an infected patient yielded growth of XDRAB. Infection control measures were adopted. Rep-PCR analysis identified four patterns.

The researchers say integration of epidemiological and microbiological data and the application of infection control measures were crucial to bring such an outbreak to a rapid halt. The distinctive characteristic of this study was the complex molecular pattern of the outbreak, which subsided in a short period of time due to adherence to infection control measures, confirming the fundamental role of molecular typing in the comprehension of outbreaks dynamics and of integrated control interventions for the interruption of epidemic events.

Reference: Bianco A, et al. Control of carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii outbreak in an intensive care unit of a teaching hospital in Southern Italy. BMC Infectious Diseases. 2016;16:747

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