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Investigation of a Streptococcus viridans Pseudobacteremia Epidemic at a University Teaching Hospital*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 June 2016

Deirdre L. Church*
Affiliation:
Departments of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases and Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Heather E. Bryant
Affiliation:
Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
*
% 12th Floor Microbiology Laboratory, Foothills Hospital, 1403 29th St. N.W., Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2N2T9.

Abstract

For several months in 1986, an outbreak of Streptococcus viridans pseudobacteremia occurred at a large teaching hospital. All sources of laboratory blood culture contamination were excluded. A retrospective epidemiological study indicated that one phlebotomist, “P,” collected a disproportionate number of the positive blood cultures. Further comparison of the paired blood culture results from the three months when the incidence was highest revealed a good concordance of results among all other phlebotomists (Kappa = 0.5), while P's results concurred with others less frequently than would be expected even by chance (Kappa < 0.0). Clinical follow-up showed that P did not routinely wear gloves while drawing blood and had eczema of the hands. Skin scrapings from the hands, right index finger/fingernail grew predominantly S viridans species that were compatible with those recovered from contaminated blood cultures. This epidemic demonstrated the need for early detection of this source as a cause of nosocomial pseudobacteremia.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America 1989

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Footnotes

*

Abstract presented as a poster session at the 27th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) meeting, October, 1987, New York, New York

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