Molecular Epidemiology of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the Intensive Care Units - A Review

Open Microbiol J. 2007;1:8-11. doi: 10.2174/1874285800701010008. Epub 2007 Sep 20.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is one of the leading nosocomial pathogens in intensive care units (ICU). This opportunist pathogen is commonly recovered from moist environments, and is also found colonizing 2.6 to 24% of hospitalized patients. We reviewed the recent literature that used highly discriminatory typing methods to precisely identify the reservoirs and modes of transmission of this microorganism in the ICU setting. In most ICUs, the endogenous flora was suspected to be the main source of infection compared to exogenous sources (other patients, the contaminated environment such as sinks or taps). However, the percentage of endogenous versus exogenous sources might vary considerably from one setting to another. Reasons for this include the compliance of health care workers to infection control measures, the contamination of the environment, and probably also the biology of the pathogen (intrinsic fitness factors). As P. aerugi-nosa is ubiquitous in the environment and colonizes up to 15% of hospitalized patients, eradication of the reservoir is difficult, if not impossible. Therefore, efforts should primarily focus on reinforcement of infection control measures to limit its transmission.

Keywords: Pseudomonas aeruginosa; intensive care unit; molecular epidemiology.