Clinical isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa were obtained during a half-year screening period of five different wards of the La Rabta Hospital (Tunis). Distinct clinical isolates (N = 82) were obtained from patients, 40 (48%) of which originated from the Department of Otolaryngology. In order to define the local epidemiology of this opportunistic organism, all strains were serotyped, analysed for pyocin production and genetically characterized with the help of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). The data show that, despite the frequent occurrence of identical serotypes, most of the isolates represent unique pyocin types (N = 53) and genotypes (N = 64). A combination of the pyocin and PFGE data showed that nearly all strains were of unique types, except for two pairs of strains. A limited number of strain clusters was observed on the basis of DNA typing data alone. This involved eight genotypes, some of which were clustered with respect to clinical environment or time. Genotype 22 occurred most frequently (6/83, 7%) and independently of time and locale, indicating that it may represent either a clonal type constituting a major fraction of all P. aeruginosa isolates in the region or a more prevalent organism. Despite a relatively high incidence of P. aeruginosa infections, the polyclonality of these strains shows that, in La Rabta Hospital, pseudomonal infections are not primarily due to excessive spread of a single bacterial genotype.

Hospital-related epidemiology, PFGE, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Pyocin typing, Serotyping,
Journal of Hospital Infection
Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

Ben Slama, K, Boudabous, A, Skande, G, Cherif, D, Chedlya, F, Boelens, H.A.M, … van Belkum, A.F. (2001). Heterogeneity among infecting strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in diverse departments of a large Tunisian hospital. Journal of Hospital Infection, 47(4), 325–327. doi:10.1053/jhin.2001.0944