Enterobacter cloacae epidemic at a neonatal intensive care unit due to the use of infected thermometers. [Dutch]\rEnterobacter cloacae-epidemie op een neonatale intensive-care-unit door gebruik van besmette thermometers

L E A Donkers, A M Van Furth, W C Van Der Zwet, W P F Fetter, J J Roord, C M J E Vandenbroucke-Grauls

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From December 1999 to March 2000 a nosocomial outbreak of multiresistant Enterobacter cloacae occurred in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the VU Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Twenty-six patients were infected or colonized with this strain resistant to third generation cephalosporins and with decreased sensitivity for aminoglycosides. Three neonates experienced sepsis with E. cloacae with serious clinical symptoms and two of them died. Comparison of the Enterobacter isolates by amplified-fragment length polymorphism indicated that this outbreak was caused by the spread of a single strain. Infection control precautions were initiated in order to stop further spread; barrier precautions, enforcement of hand disinfection and cohorting of colonized patients. A multidisciplinary crisis team coordinated these infection control precautions and informed all persons involved. Analysis of antibiotic usage in 1999 showed an increase in the use of third generation cephalosporins from November onwards. Due to the resistance pattern of the epidemic strain the use of third generation cephalosporins was discontinued in February 2000. At the end of February the NICU was temporarily closed. The epidemic strain of E. cloacae was isolated from one digital rectal thermometer. Patient use of thermometers and disposable coverings for rectal thermometers were introduced to eliminate this possible means of spread. No spread of multiresistant E. cloacae was found following the introduction of these interventions. Once all the neonates had been transferred, the NICU was disinfected and reopened in March.
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)643-647
Number of pages5
JournalNederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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