Detection and termination of an extended low-frequency hospital outbreak of GIM-1–producing Pseudomonas aeruginosa ST111 in Germany

Published:April 10, 2015DOI:


      • We provide insight into a long-term, discontinuous outbreak of metallo-β-lactamase Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
      • Molecular and conventional environmental sampling revealed the source of infection.
      • Strict infection control measures achieved clinical infection control.


      Metallo-β-lactamase German imipenemase-1 (GIM-1)–mediated carbapenem resistance is emerging in Germany but has not spread beyond a very localized region. The aim of this study was to describe the first outbreak of an extensively drug-resistant GIM-1–carrying Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain affecting 29 patients in a tertiary care hospital from 2002-2013.


      The outbreak was studied retrospectively and prospectively by a combination of molecular methods (carbapenemase polymerase chain reaction [PCR]), genotyping (DiversiLab, pulsed field gel electrophoresis and multi-locus sequence typing, bioMérieux, Marcy l'Etoile, France), descriptive epidemiology, and extensive environmental investigations using swabs with liquid transport medium, blaGIM-1 PCR, directly from the medium and culture.


      Of the 29 affected patients, 24 had been admitted to a surgical intensive care unit at some point, where environmental sampling revealed a high burden of blaGIM-1 in the wastewater system. The outbreak strain was found in several sinks and on a reusable hair washbasin. Initially, general infection control measures were applied; thereafter, specific measures were implemented, including the restriction of washbasin use. Continued surveillance over a period of 2 years has revealed no further case of GIM-1–carrying Pseudomonas aeruginosa.


      This long-term outbreak highlights the potential of molecular methods in surveillance for multidrug-resistant pathogens and in environmental sampling and the successful containment by application of specific control measures targeting biofilms within sink drains as potential environmental reservoirs for P aeruginosa.

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