Waterborne Pseudomonas aeruginosa transmission in a hematology unit?

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Abstract

Background:

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an important nosocomial pathogen that commonly colonizes hospital water supplies, including in taps and sinks. We report the transmission of P. aeruginosa from water to patients in a clinical hematology setting.

Methods:

P. aeruginosa from water samples were compared to clinical isolates from hematology ward patients, via molecular typing (pulsed field gel electrophoresis).

Results:

P. aeruginosa cultured from blood cultures from 3 patients was indistinguishable from water strains, by molecular typing. Based on infection control inspections, the transmission event was surmised to be due to cleaning of equipment, specifically an infusion therapy procedure tray used to transport intravenous drugs to patients, with water from an outlet colonized by P. aeruginosa.

Conclusion:

We show the importance of holistic factors, such as disposal of patient waste water, cleaning of tap outlets, and cleaning of medical equipment, in the transmission of P. aeruginosa, and demonstrate that the role of waterborne transmission of this organism in a hematology setting cannot be overlooked. We suggest that appropriate management of water, including both holistic and engineering interventions, is needed to stop transmission of P. aeruginosa from water to patients.

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