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Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 1992 Apr;13(4):201-6.

Risk factors for epidemic Xanthomonas maltophilia infection/colonization in intensive care unit patients.

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National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA 30333.



To determine risk factors for and modes of transmission of Xanthomonas maltophilia infection/colonization.


Surveillance and cohort study.


A 470-bed tertiary trauma-referral community hospital.


From January 1, 1988 to March 17, 1989, 106 intensive care unit patients developed X maltophilia infection/colonization. We defined a case as any intensive care unit patient who, from July 15, 1988, through March 17, 1989 (epidemic period), had X maltophilia infection/colonization greater than or equal to 48 hours after intensive care unit admission. We identified 45 case patients and 103 control patients (persons in the shock-trauma intensive care unit for greater than or equal to 72 hours during the epidemic period who had no X maltophilia-positive culture).


Cases were significantly more likely to occur in the shock-trauma intensive care unit than in all other intensive care units combined. Mechanical ventilation, tracheostomy, being transported to the hospital by airplane, and receipt of a higher mean number of antimicrobials were risk factors for X maltophilia infection/colonization. Risk of X maltophilia infection/colonization was significantly greater among cases exposed to a patient with a X maltophilia surgical wound infection than among those without such exposure (relative risk = 1.3, p = .03). Animate and inanimate cultures revealed X maltophilia contamination of the hospital room of a patient with an X maltophilia surgical wound infection, of respiratory therapy equipment in this patient's room, of respirometers shared between patients, and of shock-trauma intensive care unit personnel's hands. Related environmental and clinical isolates were serotype 10.


Mechanically ventilated patients receiving antimicrobials in the shock-trauma intensive care unit were at increased risk of X maltophilia infection/colonization. Patients with draining X maltophilia surgical wound infections served as reservoirs for X maltophilia, and contamination of the respirometers and the hands of shock-trauma intensive care unit personnel resulted in patient-to-patient transmission of X maltophilia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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