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Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 1999 Aug;20(8):553-6.

Two consecutive outbreaks of Stenotrophomonas maltophilia (Xanthomonas maltophilia) in an intensive-care unit defined by restriction fragment-length polymorphism typing.

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Calgary District Hospital Group, Alberta, Canada.



To investigate and control consecutive outbreaks of Stenotrophomonas maltophilia infections in intensive-care-unit (ICU) patients.


Epidemiological investigation; restriction fragment-length polymorphism typing by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) of genomic DNA of outbreak strains; institution of infection control measures to limit spread.


The medical-surgical ICU in an 800-bed tertiary-care center in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


S. maltophilia was recovered from 14 ICU patients (12 infected, 2 colonized) between February 1993 and February 1994. Ten of the 14 patient isolates and 1 environmental isolate were available for PFGE typing. Patient isolates from 6 of the first 10 patients were identical. Isolates from the next 3 of 4 patients and an isolate recovered from a ventilator being used by a patient not infected with S. maltophilia also were identical, but different from the first 6. The ventilator isolate was temporally associated with the latter 4 patients.


Molecular typing allowed us to determine that there were two separate consecutive S maltophilia outbreaks rather than a single protracted outbreak. Recovery of S. maltophilia from patient ventilators and an in-line suction catheter suggests that the organism may have been spread by cross-contamination from contaminated equipment or from an environmental source.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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