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Researchers Study Pseudomonas aeruginosa Colonization and Infection in the ICU

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Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) surveillance may improve empiric antimicrobial therapy, since colonizing strains frequently cause infections. This colonization may be endogenous or exogenous, and the source determines infection control measures. Cohen, et al. (2017) prospectively investigated the sources of PA, the clinical impact of PA colonization upon admission and the dynamics of colonization at different body sites throughout the intensive care unit stay.

Intensive care patients were screened on admission and weekly from the pharynx, endotracheal aspirate, rectum and urine. Molecular typing was performed using Enterobacterial Repetitive Intergenic Consensus Polymerase Chain reaction (ERIC-PCR).

Between November 2014 and January 2015, 34 patients were included. Thirteen (38%) were colonized on admission, and were at a higher risk for PA-related clinical infection (Hazard Ratio = 14.6, p = 0.0002). Strains were often patient-specific, site-specific and site-persistent. Sixteen out of 17 (94%) clinical isolates were identical to strains found concurrently or previously on screening cultures from the same patient, and none were unique. Ventilator associated pneumonia-related strains were identical to endotracheal aspirates and pharynx screening (87–75% of cases). No clinical case was found among patients with repeated negative screening.

The researchers conclude that PA origin in this non-outbreak setting was mainly endogenous and PA-strains were generally patient- and site-specific, especially in the gastrointestinal tract. While prediction of ventilator associated pneumonia-related PA-strain by screening was fair, the negative predictive value of screening was very high.

Reference: Cohen R, et al. A prospective survey of Pseudomonas aeruginosa colonization and infection in the intensive care unit. Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control. 2017;6:7

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