Genotyping helps identify source of clinic infection outbreak

Researchers from East Carolina University used a new technique of genotyping to identify the source of a hematology clinic outbreak of Mycobacterium mucogenicum, a gram-positive, acid-fast bacteria found in tap water. This is the first outbreak of M. mucogenicum in an ambulatory care setting; five other outbreaks have been reported in hospital settings since 1995. The study was published in the November issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

Using repetitive sequence-based ( Diversilab system), the first time this method was used in an M. mucogenicum outbreak, researchers determined that a water sample from an exam room faucet with an aerator had the same bacteria as the infected patients, and all were genetically similar to control strain of M. mucogenicum. Aerators have been found to be reservoirs for bacteria in previous outbreaks.

The use of new technology to match the genetic material in the bacteria established the source of the outbreak; however, since M. mucogenicum is commonly found in in the U.S. and worldwide, researchers needed to continue their investigation to determine how the bacteria was being transmitted to the patients.

The outbreak involved four young sickle cell patients. Since all four patients had long-term lines implanted (i.e., ports used to deliver medication into the bloodstream), they were probably exposed to M. mucogenicum during outpatient visits when the lines were accessed. As part of the outbreak investigation, researchers collected from two faucets in the exam rooms and performed an audit of infection control practices, including compliance, use of appropriate techniques for injections, and other procedures.

While reviewing the infection control practices of the unit, preparation of intravenous medications by one nurse, who was involved in the care of all four patients, was found to be the only breach in safe practices. During the period of infection, this healthcare worker prepared injections at the sink counter. It's likely that the fluid bag being used to prepare injections became contaminated when the worker washed her hands.

As a result of the investigation, all of the water aerators were removed from the faucets and educational information stressing that sinks were not to be used as work spaces were distributed to staff. Since the changes, no new cases of M. mucogenicum bloodstream infection have been identified. All four patients had their implanted lines removed and recovered from the infection after antibiotics.

"This study demonstrates the efficacy of using genotyping technology in identifying the source of the ," said Muhammad Salman Ashraf, MD, assistant professor at The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. "But it also points to the need for proper practice in clinic settings, and that faucet aerators should be avoided in all healthcare facilities, especially those caring for immunosuppressed patients."

More information: Muhammad Salman Ashraf, MD, Marian Swinker, MD, Kerri L. Augustino, MS, Delores Nobles, MT, MPH, CIC; Charles Knupp, MD, Darla Liles, MD, John Christie, MD, Ph.D., Keith M. Ramsey,MD "Outbreak of Mycobacterium mucogenicum Bloodstream Infections among Patients with Sickle Cell Disease in an Outpatient Setting." Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology 33:11 (November 2012).

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hospital bacteria outbreak linked to nasal spray

Jul 21, 2011

Infection control researchers investigating a rare bacterial outbreak of Burholderia cepacia complex (Bcc) identified contaminated nasal spray as the root cause of the infections, leading to a national recall of the produc ...

Recommended for you

Liberia holds Senate vote amid Ebola fears

1 hour ago

Health workers manned polling stations across Liberia on Saturday as voters cast their ballots in a twice-delayed Senate vote that has been criticized for its potential to spread the deadly Ebola disease.

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

21 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

Bacteria in caramel apples kills at least four in US

21 hours ago

A listeria outbreak believed to originate from commercially packaged caramel apples has killed at least four people in the United States and sickened 28 people since November, officials said Friday.

Steroid-based treatment may answer needs of pediatric EoE patients

21 hours ago

A new formulation of oral budesonide suspension, a steroid-based treatment, is safe and effective in treating pediatric patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal ...

Discovery of genes that predispose a severe form of COPD

Dec 19, 2014

A study by Ramcés Falfán-Valencia, researcher at the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (INER), found that the mestizo Mexican population has a number of variations in certain genes that predispose ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.