Send to

Choose Destination
J Hosp Infect. 2011 Mar;77(3):267-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2010.10.004. Epub 2011 Jan 7.

Hospital-wide outbreak of Burkholderia contaminans caused by prefabricated moist washcloths.

Author information

University of Lübeck, Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, Lübeck, Germany.


We experienced a hospital outbreak of Burkholderia contaminans (Burkholderia cepacia Group K) in a German university hospital with two campuses. Cases were defined as the microbiological detection of B. cepacia complex (BCC) in any clinical specimen sent to the laboratory during 30 June to 21 October 2008. Species identification of BCC was performed by recA gene sequencing, followed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE; SpeI digest) for clonal identity. In total, 61 BCC-positive cases were diagnosed at the two campuses. At least nine patients contracted a ventilator-associated pneumonia with BCC. One patient suffered an infection of a pacing wire insertion site and four patients had septicaemia. Sixteen patients died in hospital, none thought to be due to the outbreak strain. BCC was eventually found in packages of moist prefabricated washcloths used for intensive care patients. German healthcare authorities were informed and a Europe-wide alarm (RAPEX) was initiated through the systems to prevent infections in other hospitals. PFGE proved clonal identity between isolates from clinical specimens and washcloths of both campuses. After elimination of the contaminated washcloths no further cases occurred. This example of a relatively newly introduced product raises the question of whether current regulations are adequate to protect consumers. For critically ill patients, care products should be carefully evaluated. In case of infections due to contaminated products, immediate communication to healthcare authorities is required, including RAPEX warning if products are sold across Europe.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center