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To assess the influence of prophylactic selective bowel decontamination (SBD) on the spectrum of microbes causing bloodstream infection (BSI).
The microbes causing BSI in neutropenic patients of a hematologic ward (HW) and a bone marrow transplantation unit (BMTU), respectively, were compared by retrospective analysis of blood culture results from January 1996 to June 2003.
A 30-bed HW (no SBD) and a BMTU including a 7-bed normal care ward and an 8-bed intensive care unit (SBD used) of a 2,200-bed university teaching hospital.
The overall incidences of bacteremia in the HW and the BMTU were similar (72.6 vs 70.6 episodes per 1,000 admissions; P = .8). Two hundred twenty episodes of BSI were recorded in 164 neutropenic patients of the HW and 153 episodes in 127 neutropenic patients of the BMTU. Enterobacteriaceae (OR, 3.14; CI95, 1.67–5.97; P = .0002) and Streptococcus species (OR, 2.04; CI95, 1.14–3.70; P = .015) were observed more frequently in HW patients and coagulase-negative staphylococci more frequently in BMTU patients (OR, 0.15; CI95, 0.09–0.26; P< .00001). No statistically significant differences were found for gram-negative nonfermentative bacilli (P = .53), Staphylococcus aureus (P = .21), Enterococcus species (P = .48), anaerobic bacteria (P = .1), or fungi (P = .50).
SBD did not lead to a significant reduction in the incidence of bacteremia, but significant changes in microbes recovered from blood cultures were observed. SBD should be considered when empiric antimicrobial therapy is prescribed for suspected BSI.
To investigate and describe an outbreak of Serratia marcescens in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and to report the interventions leading to cessation of the outbreak.
A 2,168-bed, tertiary-care, university teaching hospital in Vienna, Austria, with an 8-bed NICU.
We conducted a case–control study to identify risk factors for colonization and infection with S. marcescens. A case-patient was defined as any neonate in the NICU with a positive culture for S. marcescens between October 1, 2000, and February 28, 2001. Polymerase chain reaction was applied to type isolates.
During unannounced observations, the NICU was examined and existing policies were reviewed. Staff were reinstructed in hand antisepsis and gloving policies. Admissions were halted on December 27. During previously planned technical maintenance of the ward, the NICU was closed for 10 days and thorough aldehyde-based disinfection of the NICU was performed.
Ten neonates met the case definition: 6 with infections (among them 3 with cerebral abscesses) and 4 with asymptomatic colonization. Previous antibiotic treatment of the mothers with cefuroxime was the single significant risk factor for colonization or infection (P = .028; odds ratio, 17; 95% confidence interval, 1.3 to 489.5).
S. marcescens can cause rapidly spreading outbreaks associated with fatal infections in NICUs. With aggressive infection control measures, such outbreaks can be stopped at an early stage. Affected neonates themselves may well be the source of cross-infection to other patients on the ward. Antibiotic treatment of mothers should be reevaluated to avoid unnecessary exposure to antibiotics with the potential of overgrowth of resistant organisms.
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