Antimicrobials Promoted Neonatal VRE Outbreak, Study Finds

Successive outbreaks of vancomycin-resistant enterococci in a Greek neonatial intensive care unit may have been caused by poor administration of antibiotics, according to a study in The American Journal of Infection Control.

Clinicians at the Aristotle University School of Medicine in Greece began screening neonates upon an 2008 outbreak of VRE in the school of medicine's neonatal intensive care unit. Between June and December 2008, they found 39.9 percent of infants were colonized with VRE.

During a first VRE outbreak, microbial screens showed only one strain of the bacteria. Screens from a second outbreak, which occurred after the apparent elimination of VRE from the NICU, showed the presence multiple VRE strains, indicating incorrect antimicrobial administration.

Further analysis showed that antibiotics for late-onset of neonatal sepsis as well as hospitalization during the first outbreak were significant factors for VRE colonization of infants.

Study authors emphasized the importance of proper antibiotic administration and infection control practices to prevent such biphasic outbreaks.

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