Risk of Pseudomonas aeruginosa cross-colonisation in patients with cystic fibrosis within a holiday camp--a molecular-epidemiological study

Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2000 Apr 7;112(7):329-33.


Objective: A study on the molecular epidemiology of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) from Germany (N = 18) and Israel (N = 12) is presented. The aim is to provide an answer to the question as to whether or not social contact outside the hospital environment involves a potential risk for person-to-person spread of this pathogen.

Methods: Sputa from German and Israeli patients were obtained while these were attending a holiday camp in Israel. The sputum samples were analysed with regard to Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Strains dissimilar in macroscopic appearance and/or antibiotic resistance patterns were genotyped using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis after digestion of genomic DNA with restriction endonuclease Spel. The genetic polymorphism of DNA fragment patterns of all strains (N = 146) was studied for their overall relatedness using a fingerprint software system.

Results: Most of the German patients (77.7%) were colonised persistently by a unique clonal type during the four-week screening period. Isolates obtained from Israeli patients displayed a very close clonal relationship and a higher antibiotic resistance as a result of preceding epidemic spread of certain clones before the camp. Additionally, isolates showing identical PFGE patterns were demonstrated once in a single male Israeli patient and in one female German patient, suggesting previous cross-colonisation.

Conclusion: The occurrence of person-to-person spread through social contact in patients with CF is supported by our findings, but remains a rare event outside the hospital environment, provided appropriate hygienic measures are applied.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications*
  • Disease Transmission, Infectious / statistics & numerical data*
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Germany / ethnology
  • Holidays
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Pseudomonas Infections / epidemiology
  • Pseudomonas Infections / transmission*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / isolation & purification*
  • Travel*