Halting the spread of epidemic pseudomonas aeruginosa in an adult cystic fibrosis centre: a prospective cohort study

JRSM Short Rep. 2013 Jan;4(1):1. doi: 10.1258/shorts.2012.012018. Epub 2013 Jan 14.


Objectives: To assess if cohort segregation policies are effective in preventing cross-infection in cystic fibrosis (CF) clinics.

Design: A prospective cohort study.

Setting: A large adult CF centre in Northwest England.

Participants: All CF patients cared for at the Liverpool adult CF centre 2003-2009.

Methods: Regular sputum sampling with genotyping of pseudomonas aeruginosa (Psa) isolates led to a policy of inpatient and outpatient segregation by microbiological group.

Main outcome measures: Prevalence and cross-infection/super-infection rates of a transmissible Psa strain, i.e. the Liverpool epidemic strain (LES) in adult CF patients at the Liverpool adult CF centre from 2003 to 2009.

Results: There was a decline in the proportion of patients with LES (71-53%) and an increase in those with unique strains (23-31%) and without Psa infection (6-17%) from 2003 to 2009. There were two cases of LES super-infection and one case of new chronic Psa infection (with a unique strain). There were no cases of transmissible strain infection in patients previously uninfected by Psa.

Conclusions: Our segregation policy has halted the spread of the commonest highly transmissible strain in the UK (LES) in our clinic, without endangering patients who were not previously infected with Psa. It confirms that if genotypic surveillance is used, it is unnecessary to segregate patients infected with unique strains from those without Psa infection.