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Am J Infect Control. 2012 Aug;40(6):512-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2012.02.016.

Pattern of bacterial colonization in a new neonatal intensive care unit and its association with infections in infants.

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Maimonides Infants and Children's Hospital of Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY 11203, USA.



There is paucity of information on the pattern of bacterial colonization of a new neonatal intensive care unit.


To study the pattern of bacterial colonization on the environmental surfaces in a new neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and correlate it with infections in the infants.


Environmental cultures from the faucets and computer keyboards in the NICU were obtained prospectively every 2 weeks for 1 year. Positive blood, cerebrospinal fluid, and respiratory cultures from the infants in the NICU were also obtained.


A total of 175 swab cultures was collected, which were sterile for initial 6-week period. Subsequently, 31 cultures grew microbes: 26 (83.8%) from the faucets and 5 (16.2%) from the computers keyboard (P < .001). Of the 48 positive blood cultures in NICU patients, 6 (12.5%) matched the organism growing from the surveillance sites, but the correlation was not significant (P = .076). None of the 31 positive respiratory cultures and 1 positive cerebrospinal fluid culture correlated to the organisms grown from the NICU environment.


The environment was colonized after an initial period of sterile cultures in a new NICU. Once colonized, they can persist, increasing the risk of developing resistance to antibiotics. They did not correlate with the positive cultures from the infants admitted to the NICU during the study period.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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