From September 1981 through April 1984, 20 patients at one hospital were identified with Ewingella americana pseudobacteremia. Case-control studies demonstrated an association between having a positive blood culture for E. americana and having blood for culture obtained simultaneously with blood obtained for coagulation studies (15 of 19 case patients versus 4 of 38 controls; P = 4.5 x 10-7). Review of blood-drawing procedures showed that (i) blood for coagulation studies and culture was drawn with the same syringe, and (ii) coagulation tubes were filled before blood culture tubes. Some phlebotomists were not using new sterile needles to inoculate blood culture bottles. Collection tubes for coagulation studies were prepared in the hospital, and E. americana was isolated from all 52 unused coagulation tubes tested. Solutions prepared in the hospital may constitute a persistent inanimate environmental reservoir for this uncommon microorganism. Pseudobacteremia can result in unnecessary antimicrobial therapy for some patients, incurring the risks of adverse drug reactions, selection of drug-resistant bacteria, and increased health care costs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)