Send to

Choose Destination
J Hosp Infect. 1996 Mar;32(3):199-206.

Tracheal colonization with Sphingomonas paucimobilis in mechanically ventilated neonates due to contaminated ventilator temperature probes.

Author information

Department of Infection Control, University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium.


Sphingomonas paucimobilis was isolated from tracheal secretions of a total of 85 mechanically ventilated babies in a neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU) during a two-year-period. None of the neonates developed pneumonia or sepsis. After each increase in the fluctuating number of S. paucimobilis isolates, extra attention was paid to hand hygiene and to the maintenance of the ventilation equipment. This resulted in a reduction of the frequency of isolation each time. Cultures of all liquids in use and of the ventilation equipment were negative on several occasions. Fifteen months after the start of the outbreak, the NICU was moved to another building, and some older ventilation equipment was abandoned. After a period of six weeks without problems, S. paucimobilis was isolated in association with at least four ventilators. A new investigation showed that the ventilator temperature probes were the source of contamination. Once effective sterilization procedures for the temperature probes were introduced no new cases appeared, until a spare ventilator with an unautoclaved temperature probe was accidentally used and this caused contamination of one child. After correction, no further cases have occurred to date. The clonal relatedness of the outbreak isolates from patients and from ventilator temperature probes was documented by fingerprinting with the arbitrarily primed polymerase chain reaction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center