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Am J Infect Control. 1999 Jun;27(3):247-53.

Unusual genetic heterogeneity of Acinetobacter baumannii isolates in a university hospital in Italy.

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  • 1Institute of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine, University "Federico II,", Naples, Italy.



Acinetobacter baumannii has become an increasingly important nosocomial pathogen, particularly in intensive care units (ICUs). The aim of this investigation was to study the molecular epidemiology of A baumanii in a university hospital in Italy.


All A baumanii isolates were collected and typed with phenotypic and genotypic methods during a 7-month period. A 1-year prospective surveillance of ICU-acquired infections was performed by using the National Nosocomial Infections Surveillance methodology.


A baumanni accounted for 28.4% of all infections and 46.7% of all pneumonia acquired in the ICU, with a nosocomial infection rate of 12.4% or 8 infections per 1000 patient-days. Risk factors for A baumannii acquisition in the ICU were mechanical ventilation and previous use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, whereas administration of carbapenems showed a significant protective effect. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis of genomic Apa I digests identified at least 5 outbreaks in the ICU caused by 5 different clones, one replacing the other in a well-defined temporal order.


Whereas the sequential temporal cluster of epidemic clones in the ICU is intriguing and requires further research, the clear evidence of cross-contamination of A baumannii isolates involved with infections in the ICU demands extensive preventive efforts.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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