An increased incidence of Enterobacter cloacae in a cardiovascular ward

K. Kanemitsu, S. Endo, K. Oda, K. Saito, H. Kunishima, M. Hatta, K. Inden, M. Kaku

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28 Citations (Scopus)


Routine surveillance in a cardiovascular ward showed that the incidence of Enterobacter cloacae isolated from sputum and oropharyngeal cultures in June 2004 increased to 27.6% (8/29) compared to 5.5% (12/219) from the rest of the hospital during the same period (OR = 13.2; 95% CI 2.97-58.7; P < 0.05). While an increase in E. cloacae pneumonia was not verified, an investigation was undertaken by the infection control team to prevent an outbreak. The estimate of relative risk for E. cloacae infection was based on a case-control study which measured exposure to intubation, history of a stay in the intensive care unit (ICU) and oral care between patients with E. cloacae and those negative for E. cloacae. An odds ratio of 13.2 suggested cross-contamination via the transoesophageal echocardiography (TOE) probe in the ICU prior to transfer to the cardiovascular ward. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and antibiogram patterns were also consistent with this hypothesis. Intervention was undertaken in the form of enforcing the disinfection of TOE probes using a 0.55% phtharal solution and the use of a single-use sheath to protect the probe from recontamination. Following intervention, the incidence rate returned to previous levels. This report illustrates the limitations in the effectiveness of current nosocomial surveillance strategies due to the retrospective nature of analysis. Improved surveillance methods such as data-mining tools specifically applicable to the institution, patient population, region and country are needed to increase the sensitivity of detecting unrecognized outbreaks, including cross-contamination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-134
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Hospital Infection
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Jun


  • Cardiovascular ward
  • Enterobacter
  • Nosocomial surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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