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Outbreak with ESBL (CTX-M)-producing Escherichia coli in a pediatric surgical ward

Authors Christina Åhrén
M Forsell
Kirsten Floren
Lisa Helldal
Nahid Karami
Leif Larsson
Edward R.B. Moore
Christina Welinder-Olsson
Published in Scandinavian Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 2009, September 3, Tromsø, Norway
Publication year 2009
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Infectious Medicine
Language en
Subject categories Microbiology in the medical area


Introduction: Nosocomial outbreaks with ESBL-producing bacteria in Scandinavia are still rare. In a surgical ward carrying mainly for small children with congenital gastrointestinal disorders spread with ESBL-producing bacteria most likely had been ongoing for three months when we detected the outbreak in December 2008. Five children with ESBL-infections had been cared for since September. Four had septicaemia as compared to no E.coli isolated in blood the previous year. Materials and methods: ESBL-detection has been performed according to routine methods. Positive isolates from patients hospitalised in the ward since 2007 were typed with pulse field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and the PhP-phenplate method. Results: Altogether 125/169 children hospitalised during September-December were screened and 23 were positive for ESBL-producing bacteria (~50 available isolates), of which15 were only positive in stool. They had been hospitalised for a few days to several months. Four children probably constituted the infection pool. Twenty children carried the likely outbreak strain, but ESBL-producing E coli with four additional PFGE-types as well as Klebsiella pneumonie of one type were identified. Each type demonstrated up to three different resistance-patterns against trimetoprim, ciprofloxacin and tobramycin. Six children had multiple types. Discussion and Conclusion: Spread of ESBL-producing bacteria may go undetected for a long time when only clinical isolates are available. By comparing resistance pattern we missed this outbreak by more than a month. PFGE has been an invaluable tool in the investigation. Through cohorting, enforced hygiene routines, including food handling, for personnel, parents and siblings no new child has been infected (uninfected children are screened twice weekly) since the outbreak was detected.

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