Infection with multidrug-resistant (MDR) organisms is a major clinical challenge, and few, if any, therapeutic options remain available. Increasingly, infection control measures have taken on greater importance in preventing the nosocomial transmission of MDR organisms. During December 1994 and January 1995, we identified a cluster of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis isolates involving 16 patients situated in different areas of our university-affiliated teaching hospital. Initial review of laboratory requisition forms for the patients' locations revealed no common association, suggesting that the occurrence was not due to horizontal spread. However, using genomic DNA extraction, restriction enzyme analysis, and gel electrophoresis, we found that 12 patients were infected with isolates originating from a single clone, 2 other patients were infected with isolates from a different clone, and the remaining 2 patients were infected with unique strains. Because the typing data suggested nosocomial spread, chart review was undertaken to determine a possible common exposure source. With three exceptions, clonal isolates were linked to patient movement between surgical floors, intensive care units, and a rehabilitation unit. A detailed review of patient records revealing the association would not have been performed without realization of clonality. Thus, the data demonstrate the utility of genomic typing for epidemiological purposes. In turn, targeted infection control measures that halted the spread of the potentially lethal MDR pathogen were instituted.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)