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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2000 Dec;6(12):635-43.

PCR-based DNA fingerprinting (REP-PCR, AP-PCR) and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis characterization of a nosocomial outbreak caused by imipenem- and meropenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii.

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Servicio de Microbiología, Hospital Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, Servicio de Microbiología, Hospital de Bellvitge, CSUB, Barcelona, Spain.



To demonstrate the usefulness of REP-PCR and AP-PCR on molecular typing of A. baumannii isolates.


From February to November 1997, 29 inpatients at Ramón y Cajal Hospital, Madrid-23 in five intensive care units (ICUs) and six at two different medical departments-were either colonized or infected with imipenem- and meropenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (IMRAB) strains (MICs of 64-256 mg/L). A wide antibiotic multiresistance profile was observed with IMRAB strains, and only tobramycin, sulbactam and colistin displayed valuable activity. For typing IMRAB isolates, repetitive extragenic palindromic sequence-based polymerase chain reaction (REP-PCR) and arbitrary primer sequence-based polymerase chain reaction (AP-PCR) methods were used and compared with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) as reference technique. For comparative purposes, 30 imipenem- and meropenem-susceptible A. baumannii (IMSAB) strains isolated before, during and after the outbreak were included in this study.


The molecular typing results showed that the outbreak was caused by a single IMRAB strain (genotype 1). On the other hand, seven different genotypes were observed in the pre-, at- and post-outbreak strains tested by REP-PCR. Regarding AP-PCR, three of four at-outbreak IMSAB strains were indistinguishable from the IMRAB profile. Thus, with AP-PCR, only six genotypes were obtained, apart from the IMRAB genotype.


Under our experimental conditions, REP-PCR had a higher discriminatory power than AP-PCR, with PFGE as reference technique. The REP-PCR technique is a useful and expeditious method for the epidemiologic characterization of A. baumannii nosocomial outbreaks, the results being comparable to those obtained with the PFGE technique.

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