Rooting Out Carbapenem-Resistant Acinetobacter baumannii from Environmental Reservoir.

A recent inquiry we received about potential Acinetobacter baumannii transmissions among patients being treated for COVID highlighted just how different daily routines have become during the pandemic. Norms for staff interaction with patients, room cleaning schedules, and patient monitoring have been upended. While many of these changes are designed to reduce the potential for transmission between patients and staff, the introduction of a strain that can persist in environmental reservoirs presents a serious challenge.

Acinetobacter baumannii can survive for extended periods on environmental surfaces and water reservoirs, increasing chances of persistent transmission in healthcare settings if it takes root. Earlier this year, we co-authored a paper demonstrating the complementary role that whole genome sequencing (WGS) can play in epidemiological investigations of such complex cases.

EpiXact®, our rapid turnaround WGS service for HAI investigations, provided compelling evidence of healthcare-associated transmission of a Carbapenem-Resistant A. baumannii (CRAB) between patients admitted months apart in the burn ICU, and with 2-day onset that might typically have been classified as community acquired. Understanding the transmission chain required including environmental samples in the investigation that ultimately helped with addressing persistent reservoirs.

We built epiXact to help infection control teams make rapid, confident decisions during a suspected outbreak. Often, epiXact will help you stand down from an intervention when one is not necessary. But sometimes, high-resolution WGS provides clarity where other methods cannot help you decide what’s necessary. Contact us today to learn how epiXact can help you.

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