Study: Bloodstream infection-causing bacteria increasingly resistant to common antiseptic

Bacteria that cause bloodstream infections in critically ill patients may be growing resistant to a common hospital antiseptic, called chlorhexidine gluconate, according to a study published in the September issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

Investigators compared bacterial resistance in intensive care unit patients receiving daily antiseptic washes with patients in non-ICUs who did not bathe daily with the antiseptic.

Bacterial cultures obtained from patients with regular antiseptic baths showed reduced susceptibility to chlorhexidine gluconate when compared with those from patients who did not have antiseptic baths. Regardless of unit protocol, 69 percent of all bacteria showed reduced chlorhexidine gluconate susceptibility.
"The good news is that most bacteria remain vulnerable to chlorhexidine gluconate, despite the reduced susceptibility. Daily baths with a chlorhexidine gluconate solution remain effective against life-threatening bloodstream infections," said Nuntra Suwantarat, lead author of the study.
The investigators caution that the clinical implications of their findings remain unclear.

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