Bacillus cereus bacteremia outbreak due to contaminated hospital linens
We describe an outbreak of Bacillus cereus bacteremia that occurred at Jichi Medical University Hospital in 2006. This study aimed to identify the source of this outbreak and to implement appropriate control measures. We reviewed the charts of patients with blood cultures positive for B. cereus, and investigated B. cereus contamination within the hospital environment. Genetic relationships among B. cereus isolates were analyzed. Eleven patients developed B. cereus bacteremia between January and August 2006. The hospital linens and the washing machine were highly contaminated with B. cereus, which was also isolated from the intravenous fluid. All of the contaminated linens were autoclaved, the washing machine was cleaned with a detergent, and hand hygiene was promoted among the hospital staff. The number of patients per month that developed new B. cereus bacteremia rapidly decreased after implementing these measures. The source of this outbreak was B. cereus contamination of hospital linens, and B. cereus was transmitted from the linens to patients via catheter infection. Our findings demonstrated that bacterial contamination of hospital linens can cause nosocomial bacteremia. Thus, blood cultures that are positive for B. cereus should not be regarded as false positives in the clinical setting.
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