A Pseudoepidemic Due to Laboratory Contamination Deciphered by Molecular Analysis

Thomas Morris, Annette Durbin, Joel N. Maslow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: A clinical, microbiological, and molecular analysis to identify the source of a cluster of pseudoinfections. DESIGN: Retrospective analysis of the cases, prospective epidemiologic survey, and laboratory investigation. Molecular analysis of the isolates was performed using pulsed-field eel electrophoresis f PFGEk SETTING: A tertiarv Veterans Affairs medical center. PATIENTS: Three patients admitted over a Z-week period with musculoskeletal complaints had one or more joint fluid specimens submitted for culture. In each case, anaerobic chopped meat-glucose broth (CMGB) tubes yielded one or more organisms not typically associated with septic arthritis (Enterobacter cloacae, Enterococcus faecium, Enterococcus casseliflavus, Enterococcus faecalis, Escherichia hermannii, and Pseudomonas diminuti). The first three organisms were isolated from specimens from multiple patients. Two patients had multiple positive cultures; for two patients, separate cultures yielded additional organisms on solid media. RESULTS: Laboratory investigation yielded an isolate of E faecium from 1 of 30 sham-inoculated CMGB tubes. PFGE analysis demonstrated that a single strain of E cloacae was isolated from four CMGB tubes representing all three patients, and a single strain of E faecium was isolated from CMGB tubes representing two patients and the sham-inoculated tube. CONCLUSIONS: The application of molecular typing clearly demonstrated clonality among the isolates and indicated that a common source of contamination, most likely the CMGB tubes, was responsible for these cases (Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 1995; 16:82-87).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-87
Number of pages6
JournalInfection Control & Hospital Epidemiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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