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J Hosp Infect. 2002 Jan;50(1):18-24.

Spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in a neonatal intensive unit associated with understaffing, overcrowding and mixing of patients.

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Department of Hospital Infection, Ullevål University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.


Over the period May-June 1999, an outbreak of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was registered in eight newborns in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the Department of Pediatrics, Ullevål University Hospital (UUH) in Oslo. Seven were infected or colonized with an indistinguishable strain, detected at the NICU, and one patient with a slightly different PFGE type (i.e. a subtype) was registered at the outpatient clinic. The MRSA strains resembled the sensitive, inbred 'Norwegian type' described four years earlier at UUH, showing a relatively low and heterogenic methicillin resistance (MIC 12-96 mg/L), and susceptibility to most other anti-staphylococcal agents. Before and during the outbreak, there was high activity, understaffing, overcrowding and a mix of patients; 42% of the staff were relatively untrained, and up to 62% (during weekends) were extra nursing staff, partly from other Scandinavian countries. All cases were isolated (air and contact isolation), and all other patients and personnel were treated as being exposed to MRSA (isolated from other departments) until the last patient had been identified, disinfection of all rooms was complete, and all screening samples from staff and other patients were negative. The NICU and the delivery suite were closed for one week for disinfection and screening. The outbreak ended after 34 days. Since then, two years later, no further cases have been detected in the NICU or the delivery suite.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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