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Am J Med. 1991 Nov;91(5):479-83.

Association of contaminated gloves with transmission of Acinetobacter calcoaceticus var. anitratus in an intensive care unit.

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Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06510.



Acinetobacter calcoaceticus var. anitratus is an important nosocomial pathogen that has been associated with environmental reservoirs. An increased isolation rate of A. anitratus in our intensive care units (ICUs), from 0.03% (two of 7,800) to 0.5% (seven of 1,300) (p less than 0.00003), prompted an investigation.


Ten patients were admitted to the surgical ICU and nine to the medical ICU during the outbreak period (late December 1987 to January 1988). Controls were all patients on the units who were not infected or colonized with the transmitted strain of A. anitratus. Three patients had A. anitratus pneumonia. A throat culture prevalence survey demonstrated three patients colonized with A. anitratus. Cases were placed in a cohort and symptomatic cases treated. An epidemiologic investigation was conducted to identify reservoirs and modes of transmission. Latex gloves were being used for universal precautions without routine changing of gloves between patients. Environmental sources culture-positive for A. antitratus included a small volume medication nebulizer and gloves in use for patient care. Plasmid typing showed that plasmid profiles of isolates from two symptomatic patients, two colonized patients, the nebulizer, and the gloves were identical. Other A. anitratus ICU isolates had distinct plasmid profiles. All patients with the transmitted strain had been in the surgical ICU. The need for changing gloves between patients and contaminated body sites was reinforced.


Gloves, used incorrectly for universal precautions, may potentially transmit A. anitratus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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