Over a 12-month period, Corynebacterium striatum strains were isolated from clinical specimens from 14 patients admitted to a surgical intensive care unit. These isolates were identical by morphology and biotype and displayed the same antibiogram. Ten isolates were found to be the sole possible pathogen. These 10 isolates were from six patients, three of whom had signs of infection at the time of positive culture. Further typing was performed by random amplification of polymorphic DNA analysis, by which all strains were identical and were found to differ to various degrees from reference strains and from isolates found in clinical samples from other wards. In a case-control study the only independent risk factor for acquiring the strain was intubation for longer than 24 h (odds ratio, 20.09; 95% confidence interval, 2.29 to 176.09). The same strain was isolated from surfaces and from air sampled in the direct vicinity of infected patients but never from surfaces or air in other places of the ward. The strain was not isolated from the ventilators. The strain was cultured from the hands of personnel attending to infected patients, but no long-term carriers were found among members of the hospital personnel, suggesting transient carriage only. We conclude that C. striatum can cause serious nosocomial infections in surgical intensive care unit patients and may spread from patient to patient via the hands of attending personnel.

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Journal of Clinical Microbiology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Brandenburg, A., van Belkum, A., van Pelt, C., Bruining, H., Mouton, J., & Verbrugh, H. (1996). Patient-to-patient spread of a single strain of Corynebacterium striatum causing infections in a surgical intensive care unit. Journal of Clinical Microbiology. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/8629