An outbreak of Enterobacter hormaechei infection and colonization in an intensive care nursery

Clin Infect Dis. 1997 Jun;24(6):1243-4. doi: 10.1086/513650.


Enterobacter hormaechei was first identified as a unique species in 1989. Between 29 November 1992 and 17 March 1993, an outbreak of E. hormaechei occurred among premature infants in the intensive care nursery (ICN) at The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. The 10 infants whose cultures were positive for E. hormaechei (six were infected and four were colonized) had a lower median estimated gestational age and birth weight than did other ICN infants; other risk factors for infection or colonization with E. hormaechei were not identified. Cultures from three isolettes and a doorknob in the ICN were positive for E. hormaechei. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis of isolates from six patients and two isolettes were identical. Observations of health care workers revealed breaks in infection control techniques that may have allowed transmission of this organism. We found that E. hormaechei is a nosocomial pathogen that can infect vulnerable hospitalized patients and that can be transmitted from patient to patient when infection control techniques are inadequate.

MeSH terms

  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Enterobacter / isolation & purification*
  • Enterobacteriaceae Infections / epidemiology*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal