Cross-colonisation with Pseudomonas aeruginosa of patients in an intensive care unit.

D.C.J.J. Bergmans*, M.J. Bonten, F.H. van Tiel, C.E. Gaillard, S. van der Geest, R.M. Wilting, P.W. de Leeuw, E.E. Stobberingh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Maastricht, The Netherlands.

BACKGROUND: Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa is usually preceded by colonisation of the respiratory tract. During outbreaks, colonisation with P aeruginosa is mainly derived from exogenous sources. The relative importance of different pathways of colonisation of P aeruginosa has rarely been determined in non-epidemic settings. METHODS: In order to determine the importance of exogenous colonisation, all isolates of P aeruginosa obtained by surveillance and clinical cultures from two identical intensive care units (ICUs) were genotyped with pulsed field gel electrophoresis. RESULTS: A total of 100 patients were studied, 44 in ICU 1 and 56 in ICU 2. Twenty three patients were colonised with P aeruginosa, seven at the start of the study or on admission and 16 of the remaining 93 patients became colonised during the study. Eight patients developed VAP due to P aeruginosa. The incidence of respiratory tract colonisation and VAP with P aeruginosa in our ICU was similar to that before and after the study period, and therefore represents an endemic situation. Genotyping of 118 isolates yielded 11 strain types: eight in one patient each, two in three patients each, and one type in eight patients. Based on chronological evaluation and genotypical identity of isolates, eight cases of cross-colonisation were identified. Eight (50%) of 16 episodes of acquired colonisation and two (25%) of eight cases of VAP due to P aeruginosa seemed to be the result of cross-colonisation. CONCLUSIONS: Even in non-epidemic settings cross-colonisation seems to play an important part in the epidemiology of colonisation and infection with P aeruginosa.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1053-1058
Number of pages6
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1998

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