Journal Article

Something's Rotten: A Nosocomial Outbreak of Malodorous Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Jaime A. Labarca, David A. Pegues and Elizabeth A. Wagar

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 26, issue 6, pages 1440-1446
Published in print June 1998 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online June 1998 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/516370
Something's Rotten: A Nosocomial Outbreak of Malodorous Pseudomonas aeruginosa

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From July 1994 through November 1996, a phenotypically unique strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa producing a pungent, “rotten-potato” odor and a positive lysine decarboxylase reaction was isolated from 39 patients at UCLA Medical Center (Los Angeles). Most cases (95%) were in intensive care units and had clinical infections (72%). Most isolates (74%) were recovered from cultures of respiratory secretions. To determine risk factors for acquisition of the organism, 23 cases were compared with 23 randomly selected controls matched by service and isolate date. Multivariate analysis revealed that isolation of malodorous P. aeruginosa was associated with mechanical ventilation of >24 hours' duration (odds ratio [OR] = 9.4; P = .001) and transfer from an outside hospital (OR = 5.7; P = .04). DNA from outbreak strains hybridized to P. aeruginosa-specific toxin A and phospholipase C gene probes and all outbreak isolates tested were found to be identical by use of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. An unusual phenotypic characteristic of the strain led to the recognition of a nosocomial outbreak of P. aeruginosa infection associated with mechanical ventilation.

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Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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