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Control of an Outbreak of Multidrug-Resistant Acinetobacter baumannii-calcoaceticus Colonization and Infection in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Without Closing the ICU or Placing Patients in Isolation

  • Mark Wilks (a1), Anne Wilson (a1), Simon Warwick (a1), Elizabeth Price (a1), Daniel Kennedy (a2), Andrew Ely (a2) and Michael R. Millar (a1)...



To describe the control of multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii-calcoaceticus (MDRABC) colonization and infection in an intensive care unit (ICU).


An 18-bed ICU in a large tertiary care teaching hospital in London.


After recognition of the outbreak, a range of infection control measures were introduced over several months that were primarily aimed at reducing environmental contamination with the outbreak strain. Strategies included use of a closed tracheal suction system for all patients receiving mechanical ventilation, use of nebulized colistin for patients with evidence of mild to moderate ventilator-associated pneumonia, improved availability of alcohol for hand decontamination, and clearer designation of responsibilities and strategies for cleaning equipment and the environment in the proximity of patients colonized or infected with MDRABC.


The outbreak lasted from June 2001 through November 2002 and involved 136 new cases of MDRABC infection or colonization. The number of newly diagnosed cases per month reached a maximum of 15 in February 2002, and the number of new cases slowly decreased over the next 9 months.


This outbreak was controlled by emphasizing the control of environmental reservoirs and did not require recourse to ward closure or placement of affected patients in isolation.


Corresponding author

Department of Microbiology, Royal London Hospital, Pathology and Pharmacy Building, 80 Newark Street, London El 2ES, United Kingdom (


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