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Outbreak ofSerratia marcescensin a neonatal intensive care unit: contaminated unmedicated liquid soap and risk factors

Journal
Journal of Hospital Infection
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2009
Volume
72
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.jhin.2009.01.010
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Summary This study describes an outbreak of Serratia marcescens and its investigation and control in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). During a three-month period, five infants were colonised or infected by a single strain of S. marcescens. A case–control study, culture surveys and pulse-field gel electrophoresis analysis implicated a bottle soap dispenser as a reservoir of S. marcescens ( P = 0.032). Infants with S. marcescens colonisation or infection were also more likely to have been exposed to a central or percutaneous venous catheter ( P = 0.05) and had had longer exposure to endotracheal intubation ( P = 0.05). Soap dispensers are used in many hospitals and may be an unrecognised source of nosocomial infections. This potential source of infection could be reduced by using ‘airless’ dispensers which have no air intake for the distribution of soap. Prompt intervention and strict adherence to alcoholic hand disinfection were the key factors that led to the successful control of this outbreak.

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