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Sink flora in a long-stay hospital is determined by the patients' oral and rectal flora

  • Hendrik K. F. Van Saene (a1), Jeannet C. Van Putte (a2), Joris J. M. Van Saene (a2), Thomas W. Van De Gronde (a3) and Eduard G. A. Van Warmerdam (a3)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 May 2009

Sinks in a new long-stay hospital (LSH) were cultured weekly during 4 consecutive months to evaluate the microbial profile before and after occupancy of the hospital. From the elderly patients admitted to the patient care rooms oral and rectal specimens were collected to examine the contribution of the patients' flora to the sink contamination. Isolates were typed biochemically, serologically and by susceptibility pattern. Before occupancy Gram-negative bacilli were not isolated. Once the elderly patients, who were highly colonized on admission, occupied their rooms identical strains gradually contaminated the sinks. Escherichia coli, Klebsiella, Pseudomonas and Acinetobacter species were the major correlating strains. The mean concentration of the correlating isolates was higher in throat and intestines compared to the mean concentration of the non- correlating strains. These strains seem to have a greater chance to be shed and then transferred via the hands of personnel to sinks. This resport shows that the major route of environmental contamination is from patient carriers to sinks, and not the reverse way.

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Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
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