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Appl Microbiol. 1972 Aug;24(2):219-25.

Epidemiology of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in a burns hospital: surveillance by a combined typing system.


For 3 months, 259 cultures of Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolated from nonpatient environmental sources and 262 cultures from 16 infected patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Shriners Burns Hospital were typed by a combined system with a high degree of reliability. Sinks were major sources of environmental contamination. Serotypes 1 and 2 were the predominant types found in patients, and they were most prevalent among typable strains from sinks. Strain designations were made on the basis of similarities in data from serological and phage typing. All nontypable strains were typed by pyocin production. Two infected patients carried different strains of P. aeruginosa that remained the same type for 45 days, even though their beds in ICU were approximately 6 feet apart. Cross-contamination from patient to patient and spread of infection by nursing personnel were eliminated as major modes of transmission because nasopharyngeal swabs, hair samples, and hands of nursing staff were consistently negative. Splashing of water from contaminated sinks to fomites was suggested as a possible mode of transfer for this infectious agent.

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