Spread of Pseudomonas fluorescens due to contaminated drinking water in a bone marrow transplant unit

Vanessa Wong*, Katrina Levi, Buket Baddal, Jane Turton, Tim C. Boswell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Pseudomonas infections are an important cause of morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised patients. We present here data for the spread of Pseudomonas fluorescens caused by a contaminated drinking water dispenser in a bone marrow transplant unit. Over a 1-month period we observed a sharp increase in the isolation of P. fluorescens from weekly pharyngeal surveillance swabs. Environmental samples were taken from a variety of water sources throughout the unit. These samples were cultured on cetrimide agar medium, and isolates were epidemiologically characterized by antibiotic susceptibility patterns and molecular typing methods. Nine patients became colonized with P. fluorescens, and six out of the nine developed febrile neutropenia. P. fluorescens was cultured after the filtration of 100 ml of drinking water from one of two stand-alone chiller units supplying cooled bottled water to the bone marrow transplant unit. All other environmental samples were negative. There were no further cases of P. fluorescens colonization after the contaminated dispenser was removed. Molecular typing showed that all P. fluorescens isolates were identical by both random amplification of polymorphic DNA PCR and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. We recommend that such bottled water supplies not be used in high-risk areas or be subject to regular microbiological monitoring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2093-2096
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


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