Plasmids and bacterial strains mediating multidrug-resistant hospital-acquired infections are coresidents of the hospital environment

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Journal Article
Microbial Drug Resistance, 2013, 19 (2), pp. 104 - 109
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Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are a global problem. The widespread use of antibiotics continues to exacerbate the problem giving rise to antibiotic-resistant bacteria both in and outside a clinical context. The general hospital environment is an obvious important focus for the selection and spread of multiresistant bacteria and a potential direct source of HAIs. Despite this, there are few detailed studies that have investigated the relationship between strains mediating HAIs and strains coresident in the hospital. Here we isolated bacteria from patients with HAIs exhibiting resistance to β-lactam antibiotics over a 1-month period in 2011. Three of these isolates were examined in detail by molecular analysis and their multiresistance regions were compared to β-lactam resistant bacteria isolated from the immediate hospital environment over the same period. All sampled patients were in a 14-bed burns unit and the environmental sample sites included shower drains, sinks, trolleys, and door handles. It was found that identical strains carrying the same resistance regions were present in both patients and the hospital environment suggesting HAIs can arise from bacteria resident in the immediate surrounds. The three patient infections were not derived from a single source, since strains could be distinguished by the genotype and spatial location. While it seems unlikely that eradication of multiresistant bacteria from the hospital can be achieved, more effective hospital cleaning and a better hospital design may be able to reduce transmission. © Copyright 2013, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2013.
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