Outbreak of carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii carrying the carbapenemase OXA-23 in a German university medical centre

Anke Kohlenberg, Sophie Brümmer, Paul G Higgins, Dorit Sohr, Brar C Piening, Clemens de Grahl, Elke Halle, Henning Rüden, Harald Seifert
Journal of Medical Microbiology 2009, 58: 1499-507
A prolonged outbreak of carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii in a German university medical centre in 2006 was investigated; the investigation included a descriptive epidemiological analysis, a case-control study, environmental sampling, molecular typing of A. baumannii isolates using PFGE and repetitive-sequence-based PCR (rep-PCR) typing, and detection of OXA-type carbapenemases by multiplex PCR. Thirty-two patients acquired the outbreak strain in five intensive care units (ICUs) and two regular wards at a tertiary care hospital within 10 months. The outbreak strain was resistant to penicillins, cephalosporins, ciprofloxacin, gentamicin, tobramycin, imipenem and meropenem, and carried the bla(OXA-23)-like gene. Based on PFGE and rep-PCR typing, it was shown to be related to the pan-European A. baumannii clone II. The most likely mode of transmission was cross-transmission from colonized or infected patients via the hands of health-care workers, with the severity of disease and intensity of care (therapeutic intervention scoring system 28 score >median) being independently associated with acquisition of the outbreak strain (odds ratio 6.67, 95 % confidence interval 1.55-36.56). Control of the outbreak was achieved by enforcement of standard precautions, education of personnel, screening of ICU patients for carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii and cohorting of patients. This is believed to be the first report of an outbreak of A. baumannii carrying the carbapenemase OXA-23 in Germany.

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