Outbreak of Extended-Spectrum β-lactamase-producing Klebsiella Oxytoca Infections Associated With Contaminated Handwashing sinks(1)

Emerg Infect Dis. 2012 Aug;18(8):1242-7. doi: 10.3201/eid1808.111268.


Klebsiella oxytoca is primarily a health care-associated pathogen acquired from environmental sources. During October 2006-March 2011, a total of 66 patients in a hospital in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, acquired class A extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing K. oxytoca with 1 of 2 related pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns. New cases continued to occur despite reinforcement of infection control practices, prevalence screening, and contact precautions for colonized/infected patients. Cultures from handwashing sinks in the intensive care unit yielded K. oxytoca with identical pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns to cultures from the clinical cases. No infections occurred after implementation of sink cleaning 3×/day, sink drain modifications, and an antimicrobial stewardship program. In contrast, a cluster of 4 patients infected with K. oxytoca in a geographically distant medical ward without contaminated sinks was contained with implementation of active screening and contact precautions. Sinks should be considered potential reservoirs for clusters of infection caused by K. oxytoca.

MeSH terms

  • Cross Infection / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / microbiology
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Pulsed-Field
  • Equipment Contamination*
  • Hand Disinfection / instrumentation*
  • Hand Disinfection / methods
  • Humans
  • Infection Control
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Klebsiella Infections / epidemiology*
  • Klebsiella Infections / microbiology
  • Klebsiella oxytoca / classification
  • Klebsiella oxytoca / drug effects*
  • Klebsiella oxytoca / enzymology
  • Klebsiella oxytoca / genetics
  • Klebsiella oxytoca / isolation & purification
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Water Supply
  • beta-Lactamases / biosynthesis*
  • beta-Lactamases / genetics


  • beta-Lactamases