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J Hosp Infect. 1995 Mar;29(3):201-8.

Survival on skin and surfaces of epidemic and non-epidemic strains of enterobacteria from neonatal special care units.

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Department of Bacteriology, Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, Stockholm.


It has been suggested that increased ability to survive on the hands of hospital staff contributes to transmission of certain strains of Gram-negative bacteria. We tested this hypothesis by comparing the survival on fingertips, glass slides and membrane filters of epidemic (M, major) and matched non-epidemic (S, sporadic) faecal strains of Escherichia coli (n = 13 vs. 13) and Klebsiella spp. (n = 19 vs. 19) found among 1066 neonates in 25 special care units (SCUs). The time to 50% killing at 22 degrees C in air was longer for E. coli than for Klebsiella spp. both on human skin (median 6 vs. 2 min P < 0.001) and glass surfaces (15 vs. 8 min P < 0.001). On the other hand, Klebsiella spp. were superior to E. coli in long-term survival tests on membrane filters expressed as the minimum inoculum still yielding growth after 10 days exposure at 22 degrees C in air (10(5) vs. 10(8) bacteria P < 0.001). Despite a large variation in survival times between individual strains no differences between M strains and S strains were observed in any of the three tests. This indicates that bacterial properties other than survival on surfaces contribute to the increased capacity for transmission of certain strains of enterobacteria in SCUs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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