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J Hosp Infect. 1999 Jul;42(3):201-4.

Isolation of Acinetobacter spp. including A. baumannii from vegetables: implications for hospital-acquired infections.

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Laboratory of Hospital Infection, Central Public Health Laboratory, London, United Kingdom.


A. baumannii is rarely recovered from the skin of patients or healthy European subjects as other genospecies predominate, but it isa significant nosocomial pathogen. The natural reservoir of this organism is therefore uncertain. We determined the isolation rates of Acinetobacter spp. from vegetables (as an indicator of the natural environment) using a selective technique and classified the genospecies by amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis (ARDRA). Of the 177 samples of vegetables examined, 30 yielded Acinetobacter, with genospecies 2 and 11 being the most common, each with a frequency of 27%. MIC assays showed that strains of genospecies 1, 2, 3, and 13TU (the A. calcoaceticus-A. baumannii complex) were significantly more resistant than other genospecies to ciprofloxacin and gentamicin. Vegetables may therefore be a natural habitat of A. baumannii and provide a route by which these bacteria are introduced into hospitals with obvious implications for infection control.

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