This study from Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong, investigates the source of an outbreak of carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (CRA) in a general hospital due to contamination of a laundry evaporative cooler and the laundry environment.
A total of 58 patients were affected in the outbreak. Their most common diagnoses were skin and soft-tissue infections and pneumonia.
A CRA isolate from the evaporative cooler in the laundry was identical to that of 11 patients; isolates from three laundry linen racks were identical to those of seven patients; isolates on another linen rack and a pajama shelf were identical to those of three other patients.
There was no significant difference between sequence types of clinical and environmental isolates, indicating high likelihood of CRA originating from the same source. Multilocus sequence typing confirmed that contamination of the laundry evaporative cooler and surrounding environment caused the outbreak.
Hospital laundry is an important area for infection prevention and investigations of CRA outbreaks, the researchers say.
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