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Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2006 Jul;209(4):325-31. Epub 2006 Jun 5.

Common RAPD pattern of Pseudomonas aeruginosa from patients and tap water in a medical intensive care unit.

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Section of Hospital Hygiene, Department of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, Ulm University Hospital, Ulm, Germany.

Erratum in

  • Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2006 Nov;209(6):585-6.


The epidemiology of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections and colonizations was studied prospectively on a 12-bed medical intensive care unit. Patients were monitored for P. aeruginosa colonization by performing throat swabs or tracheal aspirates on admission and weekly thereafter over a period of 6 months. Cultures of possibly infected sites were taken as clinically indicated. Water samples from all patient care-related tap water outlets were collected in 2-weekly intervals and examined for the presence of P. aeruginosa. Strains isolated from patients and water samples were analysed by serotyping and random amplified polymorphic DNA polymerase chain reaction (RAPD-PCR) typing. During the 6-month period, 60 of 143 (42%) water samples contained P. aeruginosa at various levels ranging from 1 to >100 colony-forming units per 100ml sample. Genotypically, water samples contained 8 different clonotypes. Nine patients had infections due to P. aeruginosa and 7 patients were colonized. Isolates from patients showed a similar distribution of genotypes as did tap water isolates, and strains of identical genotype as patient strains had been isolated previously from tap water outlets in 8 out of 16 (50%) infection or colonization episodes. However, patients also harboured strains not previously isolated from tap water. Thus, in addition to tap water, other environmental or unknown reservoirs appeared to play a role for the epidemiology of P. aeruginosa infections on this ward. However, because tap water played a significant role for strain transmissions, we conclude that intensified water site care is justified.

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