Acinetobacter baumannii is a major pathogen causing infections in intensive care units (ICUs). In this study, we aimed to evaluate the presence of A. baumannii in an ICU environment and gloves from ICU workers and to characterize the antimicrobial resistance of the isolates in comparison with those isolated from ICU patients at the same hospital.
ICU samples were collected from March to November 2010. Isolates biochemically characterized as Acinetobacter calcoaceticus-Acinetobacter baumannii complex were evaluated by PCR targeting the 16S rDNA and bla OXA-51 genes. Antimicrobial susceptibility was determined using the disk diffusion method, and carbapenem-resistant isolates were also evaluated for the minimum inhibitory concentration of imipenem using broth microdilution. The presence of the bla OXA-23 gene was evaluated in isolates with reduced susceptibility to carbapenems.
A. baumannii was detected in 9.5% (84) of the 886 samples collected from the ICU environment, including from furniture, medical devices, and gloves, with bed rails being the most contaminated location (23.8%; 20/84). Multidrug-resistant (MDR) A. baumannii was found in 98.8% (83/84) of non-clinical and 97.8% (45/46) of clinical isolates. Reduced susceptibility to carbapenems was detected in 83.3% (70/84) of non-clinical and 80.4% (37/46) of clinical isolates. All isolates resistant to carbapenems harbored bla OXA-23.
We found a strong similarity between the antimicrobial susceptibility profiles of non-clinical and clinical A. baumannii isolates. Such data highlight the ICU environment as a potential origin for the persistence of MDR A. baumannii, and hence the ICU may be a source of hospital-acquired infections caused by this microorganism.