A Pseudo-Outbreak ofPseudomonas putidaandStenotrophomonas maltophiliain a Bronchoscopy Unit

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Endoscopes represent the medical devices most commonly linked to health care-associated outbreaks and pseudo-outbreaks. Most of the recent outbreaks and pseudo-outbreaks have resulted from contaminated automated endoscope reprocessors (AER) or the use of damaged or malfunctioning bronchoscopes or contaminated equipment.


We investigated a pseudo-outbreak of Pseudomonas putida and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia recovered from bronchial washing (BW) specimens obtained during bronchoscopy in a bronchoscopy unit.


Samples were obtained from environmental surfaces in the endoscopy suite, bronchoscopes, and bronchoscopic dispensable material, and specimens of cleaning solutions, cleaning brushes, the AER, and the ultrasound system were sent for bacterial culture. Medical records were reviewed to identify possible infections after a bronchoscopy.


P. putida and S. maltophilia were isolated from BW samples of 39 patients. The bronchoscopy models Olympus BF-1T160 and BF-160 were contaminated. Both bronchoscopes and other contaminated material (cleaning brushes, diluted cleaning solutions, and the sink) were isolated, but new cases continued to appear. The AER was recently installed, and new connections were used for the water lines and new tubes were connected to the AER. Initially, specimens were obtained from the external circuits and the internal walls of the AER. Finally, cultures were made from the filters on the water lines, and growth of P. putida and S. maltophilia was found. The investigation revealed that the BW specimens were contaminated because sterile saline was injected by means of the biopsy port of the bronchoscope and was recovered through the same channel by means of the proximal suction port. No patients developed clinical signs or symptoms of infection, but the positive cultures did lead to treatment of 21 patients.


We described a pseudo-outbreak related to a contaminated bronchoscope because of inadequate installation of the AER for used new water lines and because the new tubes were connected to the AER. The antibacterial filters of the AER used tap water, and this may have contained low levels of microorganisms. No serious clinical complications derived from this pseudo-outbreak.

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