Relevance of digestive tract colonization in the epidemiology of nosocomial infections due to multiresistant Acinetobacter baumannii

Clin Infect Dis. 1996 Aug;23(2):329-34. doi: 10.1093/clinids/23.2.329.


Fecal colonization with multiresistant Acinetobacter baumannii was evaluated in 189 consecutive patients in intensive care units (ICUs) during two different 2-month periods (October-November 1993 and May-June 1994). Rectal swabs were obtained weekly from admission to discharge from the ICU. Overall, 77 patients (41%) had multiresistant A. baumannii fecal colonization; colonization was detected in 55 (71%) of the patients within the first week of their ICU stay. Clinical infections due to multiresistant A. baumannii occurred more frequently in patients with fecal colonization than in those without fecal colonization (26% vs. 5%, respectively; P < .001). The reinforcement of isolation measures between study periods reduced both the number of fecal carriers of multiresistant A. baumannii (from 52% to 31%; P < .01) and the number of patients with multiresistant A. baumannii infections (from 17% to 11%; no statistical significance). The digestive tract of ICU patients could be an important epidemiologic reservoir for multiresistant A. baumannii infections in hospital outbreaks. Further prospective studies should be undertaken to define the relative significance of digestive tract colonization compared with other body site colonizations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acinetobacter / genetics
  • Acinetobacter / isolation & purification*
  • Acinetobacter Infections / classification
  • Acinetobacter Infections / microbiology*
  • Acinetobacter Infections / mortality
  • Cross Infection
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • Digestive System / microbiology
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple*
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Pulsed-Field
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Male
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Middle Aged


  • DNA, Bacterial