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      Outbreak of multidrug-resistant Enterococcus faecium with transferable vanB class vancomycin resistance.

      Journal of Clinical Microbiology
      Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Case-Control Studies, Cross Infection, drug therapy, epidemiology, microbiology, Diarrhea, Disease Outbreaks, Disease Reservoirs, Drug Resistance, Microbial, genetics, Enterococcus faecium, drug effects, isolation & purification, Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections, Humans, Middle Aged, Rhode Island, Vancomycin, pharmacology

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          Enterococcus faecium strains resistant to ampicillin, high levels of gentamicin, and vancomycin but susceptible to teicoplanin (vanB class vancomycin resistance) were recovered from 37 patients during an outbreak involving a 250-bed university-affiliated hospital. Three isolates with vancomycin MICs ranging from 8 to 256 micrograms/ml all hybridized with a vanB probe. Restriction endonuclease analysis of chromosomal and plasmid DNA suggested that all isolates tested were derived from a single clone. Vancomycin resistance was shown to be transferable. Risk factors for acquiring the epidemic strain included proximity to another case patient (P, 0.0005) and exposure to a nurse who cared for another case patient (P, 0.007). Contamination of the environment by the epidemic strain occurred significantly more often when case patients had diarrhea (P, 0.001). Placing patients in private rooms and requiring the use of gowns as well as gloves by personnel controlled the outbreak. These findings suggest that multidrug-resistant E. faecium strains with transferable vanB class vancomycin resistance will emerge as important nosocomial pathogens. Because extensive environmental contamination may occur when affected patients develop diarrhea, barrier precautions, including the use of both gowns and gloves, should be implemented as soon as these pathogens are encountered.

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