Investigation of an Outbreak of Wound Infections due to Alcaligenes xylosoxidans Transmitted by Chlorhexidine in a Burns Unit

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Abstract

Alcaligenes xylosoxidans, an environmental gram-negative bacillus, was isolated within a 1-month period from six patients in a pediatric burns unit. Twelve isolates were studied, one from each of the six patients (five from wound cultures and one from a blood culture) and one from each of six contaminated atomizers containing chlorhexidine diluted to 600 mg/l. The biochemical and susceptibility patterns of all the isolates were similar, and their DNA enzyme restriction patterns were identical. The epidemic strain of Alcaligenes xylosoxidans was probably introduced into the atomizers during handling of the diluted solution, which failed to eliminate it.