Two molecular typing methods, DNA macrorestriction analysis with XbaI resolved by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and infrequent restriction site PCR (IRS-PCR) assay with adapters designed for XbaI and HhaI restriction sites, were used to investigate two clusters of hospital-acquired bacteraemia associated with multi-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae which occurred in a paediatric intensive care unit (PICU). A total of 56 K. pneumoniae isolates were analysed. These included 10 bacteraemic isolates from eight patients, 26 isolates obtained during an epidemiological survey, and 20 epidemiologically non-related isolates incorporated as controls. One major pattern was demonstrated in 22 of the 56 isolates analysed. These included nine of the 10 bacteraemic isolates, a single rectal isolate, two hand culture isolates and 10 sink isolates. All of these 22 isolates illustrated identical antibiograms, whilst the other 34 isolates shared six antibiograms and 31 unique patterns by either PFGE or IRS-PCR assay. The two clusters of bacteraemia appeared to be outbreaks induced by the same strain of K. pneumoniae which may have utilized sinks as reservoirs and been transmitted through the hands of medical personnel to patients. IRS-PCR demonstrates concordant results with PFGE analysis in studying the genetic relationships among K. pneumoniae isolates, and serves as an excellent epidemiological tool for this bacterium. (C) 2000 The Hospital Infection Society.
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