A hospital outbreak caused by a chlorhexidine and antibiotic-resistant Proteus mirabilis

J Hosp Infect. 1987 Jul;10(1):10-6. doi: 10.1016/0195-6701(87)90027-2.


An outbreak of urinary-tract infection involving a strain of Proteus mirabilis resistant to gentamicin and several other antibiotics affected 90 patients in Southampton between July 1980 and May 1985. The outbreak strain was also resistant to chlorhexidine and this, in combination with the antibiogram and Dienes' test, permitted differentiation from other P. mirabilis strains. The outbreak had features in common with other Enterobacteriaceae outbreaks, although certain aspects of the population involved have made it particularly difficult to control. The outbreak commenced shortly after the introduction of a catheter care policy which involved the use of chlorhexidine, and although the majority of the cases were colonized before this policy was enforced, chlorhexidine had been used extensively for other procedures within the district. Preliminary evidence suggests that there is no genetic linkage between the chlorhexidine and multiple antibiotic resistance.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Chlorhexidine / pharmacology*
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology*
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control
  • Disease Outbreaks / epidemiology*
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • England
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Proteus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Proteus mirabilis / drug effects*
  • Proteus mirabilis / isolation & purification
  • Seasons
  • Urinary Tract Infections / epidemiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Chlorhexidine