Expanding PVL positive MRSA healthcare-associated infections outbreak in a newborns unit, caused by hospital hygiene shortcomings

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A prolonged outbreak of Healthcare-Associated Infections (HCAIs) evolved since December 2013, in a Newborns Unit from Hospital A, sited in the North-Eastern development region, Romania. A first cluster consisted of 19 cases, of which 18 infections in newborns and 1 labour infectious complication in a mother. Except for five cases declared and treated in the Neonatology Unit as hospital-acquired infections, the other cases were discharged and further required rehospitalisation and treatment.

Eight of these innitialy discharged cases were readmitted to the Pediatric Surgery Unit and two others to the Pediatrics Unit of Hospital B, while three others were readmitted to three hospitals: one to the Pediatrics Unit of Hospital C, and other two to Hospital A and Hospital D, respectively. The mother with the labour infectious complication was readmitted to the Gynecology Unit of the Hospital A.

A number of fifteen Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) strains isolated from the HCAI first episode and 8 strains from 7 HCWs were received by „Cantacuzino” Institute, Nosocomial Infections and Antibiotic Resistance Laboratory from the County Public Health Directorate, for confirmation and molecular typing.

After a first round of interventions for infection control, a second episode bursted in Hospital A and our laboratory received six other S. aureus isolates from newborns, hospital environment, and HCWs.

Public Health interventions based on epidemiologic data and molecular microbiology results were finally successful. The evolution of all cases was favorable.

An important factor favoring the outbreak was the moving of the Birth Unit of Hospital A to an innapropriate location for an 18-month interval, more than innitially estimated, in relation to rehabilitation of the ward.

We considered to report this episode taking into account the unusual evolution, the risk of multiresistant bacterial strains spreading, and multiple unwanted consequences caused by shortcomings in providing appropriate hygiene conditions.

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