Journal Article

Occupational Transmission of <i>Acinetobacter baumannii</i> from a United States Serviceman Wounded in Iraq to a Health Care Worker

Timothy J. Whitman, Sonia S. Qasba, Joseph G. Timpone, Britta S. Babel, Matthew R. Kasper, Judith F. English, John W. Sanders, Kristine M. Hujer, Andrea M. Hujer, Andrea Endimiani, Mark W. Eshoo and Robert A. Bonomo

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 47, issue 4, pages 439-443
Published in print August 2008 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online August 2008 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/589247
Occupational Transmission of Acinetobacter baumannii from a United States Serviceman Wounded in Iraq to a Health Care Worker

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Background. Acinetobacter baumannii is increasingly recognized as being a significant pathogen associated with nosocomial outbreaks in both civilian and military treatment facilities. Current analyses of these outbreaks frequently describe patient-to-patient transmission. To date, occupational transmission of A. baumannii from a patient to a health care worker (HCW) has not been reported. We initiated an investigation of an HCW with a complicated case of A. baumannii pneumonia to determine whether a link existed between her illness and A. baumannii-infected patients in a military treatment facility who had been entrusted to her care.

Methods. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and polymerase chain reaction/electrospray ionization mass spectrometry, a form of multilocus sequencing typing, were done to determine clonality. To further characterize the isolates, we performed a genetic analysis of resistance determinants.

Results and Conclusions. A “look-back” analysis revealed that the multidrug resistant A. baumannii recovered from the HCW and from a patient in her care were indistinguishable by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. In addition, polymerase chain reaction/electrospray ionization mass spectrometry indicated that the isolates were similar to strains of A. baumannii derived from European clone type II (Walter Reed Army Medical Center strain type 11). The exposure of the HCW to the index patient lasted for only 30 min and involved endotracheal suctioning without use of an HCW mask. An examination of 90 A. baumannii isolates collected during this investigation showed that 2 major and multiple minor clone types were present and that the isolates from the HCW and from the index patient were the most prevalent clone type. Occupational transmission likely occurred in the hospital; HCWs caring for patients infected with A. baumannii should be aware of this potential mode of infection spread.

Journal Article.  3153 words.  Illustrated.

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

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