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To study an increase of antimicrobial-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii and to assess reasons for the delayed detection of this increase.
Review of medical, laboratory, and infection control records. Plasmid profile analysis of available A baumannii isolates.
A 340-bed trauma and intensive care hospital in Detroit, Michigan.
The number of hospitalized patients with resistant A baumannii increased during late 1989 and early 1990: 4 in September, 10 in October, 12 in November, 18 in December, and 23 in January (chi square for trend = 14.6, p= .0001). Forty-four (66%) of the 67 patients culture-positive for resistant A baumannii had respiratory tract colonization or infection. Of 11 resistant isolates, 6 had a similar plasmid profile and 5 had no plasmids. Under the hospital's targeted surveillance system, only positive cultures from blood or wounds were investigated; this largely respiratory increase of resistant A baumannii went unrecognized until January 1990.
Antimicrobial resistance in A baumannii is an important concern. Such resistance is not necessarily plasmid mediated. Tar geted surveillance for this and other agents of nosocomial infection should be used with caution, particularly in hospitals with many debilitated patients.
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