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J Clin Microbiol. Dec 1985; 22(6): 903–907.
PMCID: PMC271848

Nosocomial Pseudomonas pickettii colonization associated with a contaminated respiratory therapy solution in a special care nursery.


Pseudomonas pickettii caused respiratory tract colonization in five infants in the special care nursery of a Chicago hospital. All organisms had the same antimicrobial susceptibilities. Endotracheal suctioning with saline from 5-ml unit-dose vials was identified by epidemiologic investigation as a risk factor for colonization. The vials of saline were contaminated with a strain of P. pickettii having the same antimicrobial susceptibility pattern as the isolates from patients. As part of an investigation of the manufacturing plant where the saline solution was produced, P. pickettii was recovered from deionized water used to make the product and from several sites in the processing line. Bypassing of a 180 degrees F (ca. 82 degrees C) water-holding tank appeared to be temporally related to product contamination. The ability of P. pickettii to survive and grow in this solution has been demonstrated in the laboratory. This outbreak demonstrates that, despite pertinent Food and Drug Administration regulations and company programs for identifying such contamination, intrinsically contaminated solutions can occasionally reach the bedside of the patient.

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Selected References

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  • Anderson RL, Bland LA, Favero MS, McNeil MM, Davis BJ, Mackel DC, Gravelle CR. Factors associated with Pseudomonas pickettii intrinsic contamination of commercial respiratory therapy solutions marketed as sterile. Appl Environ Microbiol. 1985 Dec;50(6):1343–1348. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Kahan A, Philippon A, Paul G, Weber S, Richard C, Hazebroucq G, Degeorges M. Nosocomial infections by chlorhexidine solution contaminated with Pseudomonas pickettii (Biovar VA-I). J Infect. 1983 Nov;7(3):256–263. [PubMed]
  • Phillips I, Eykyn S, Laker M. Outbreak of hospital infection caused by contaminated autoclaved fluids. Lancet. 1972 Jun 10;1(7763):1258–1260. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Clinical Microbiology are provided here courtesy of American Society for Microbiology (ASM)


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