This prospective study was designed to determine the incidence of rectal and/or oropharyngeal colonization rates of patients with Pseudomonas aeruginosa upon admission to a general hospital and the risk of becoming colonized while hospitalized. Consecutive 186 admissions (180 patients) to one medical ward, one surgical ward, and the intensive care unit were studied over a period of 5 months. Rectal and oropharyngeal swabs for P. aeruginosa were obtained on admission, weekly thereafter, and/or upon discharge. Forty-two patients (22.6%) were colonized on admission, 20 patients (10.8%) acquired P. aeruginosa during hospitalization. Colonization on admission was observed twice as frequently on the surgical ward and in the intensive care unit as on the medical ward. Positive rectal cultures were more frequent than oropharyngeal cultures throughout the study (P less than 0.01). For patients admitted culture positive or culture negative, the probabilities of remaining culture positive or culture negative, respectively, remained at 44 and 72% after 35 days of hospitalization. The most common P. aeruginosa serotypes were 1, 6, and 10, and pyocin types 1, 3, and 10 were predominant. There was no statistical difference in the serotypes or pyocin types detected on admission or acquired during hospitalization. Except for two hospital-acquired first isolates which were resistant to moxalactam, all first isolates were susceptible to the four antibiotics tested. During the study, one isolate became resistant to azlocillin, gentamicin, and tobramycin, while two isolates became resistant to moxalactam. A statistical analysis was performed for 13 risk factors for all colonized and noncolonized patients. Colonization detected at the time admission was positively associated with age ( > 65 years), previous surgery of the gastrointestinal tract for neoplasm, and anemia ( P< 0.05). In contrast, for patients who entered the study culture negative, none of the analyzed 13 risk factors was associated with an increased probability for colonization. This observation included the administration of antimicrobial agents singly or in combination or both
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