Background: Octenidine is frequently used for infection prevention in neonatal and burn intensive care units, where Pseudomonas aeruginosa has caused nosocomial outbreaks. Aim: To investigate the efficacy and impact of using octenidine against P. aeruginosa. Methods: Seven clinical isolates of P. aeruginosa were exposed to increasing concentrations of octenidine over several days. Fitness, minimum bactericidal concentrations after 1 min, 5 min and 24 h, and minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of a variety of antimicrobials were measured for the parental and octenidine-adapted P. aeruginosa strains. Octenidine and chlorhexidine MICs of a population of P. aeruginosa isolated from a hospital drain trap, exposed to a diluted octenidine formulation four times daily for three months, were also tested. Findings: Some planktonic cultures of P. aeruginosa survived >50% of the working concentration of an in-use octenidine formulation at the recommended exposure time. Seven strains of P. aeruginosa stably adapted following continuous exposure to increasing concentrations of octenidine. Adaptation increased tolerance to octenidine formulations and chlorhexidine up to 32-fold. In one strain, it also led to increased MICs of antipseudomonal drugs. Subsequent to continuous octenidine exposure of a multi-species community in a simulated clinical setting, up to eight-fold increased tolerance to octenidine and chlorhexidine of P. aeruginosa was also found, which was lost upon removal of octenidine. Conclusion: Incorrect use of octenidine formulations may lead to inadequate decontamination, and even increased tolerance of P. aeruginosa to octenidine, with resulting cross-resistance to other biocides.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
- Infection prevention
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa