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Wisgrill, Lukas; Lepuschitz, Sarah; Blaschitz, Marion; Rittenschober-Boehm, Judith; Diab-El Schahawi, Magda; Schubert, Soeren; Indra, Alexander and Berger, Angelika (2019): Outbreak of Yersiniabactin-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. In: Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, Vol. 38, No. 6: pp. 638-642

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Background: The Gram-negative bacterium Klebsiella pneumoniae is a frequent pathogen causing outbreaks in neonatal intensive care units. Some Enterobacteriaceae can acquire the ability to sequester iron from infected tissue by secretion of iron-chelating compounds such as yersiniabactin. Here we describe an outbreak and clinical management of infections because of a highly virulent yersiniabactin-producing, nonmultiresistant K. pneumoniae strain in a neonatal intensive care unit. Outbreak investigation and effectiveness assessment of multidisciplinary infection control measurements to prevent patient-to-patient transmission of highly pathogenic K. pneumoniae were undertaken. Methods: Outbreak cases were identified by isolation of K. pneumoniae from blood or stool of infants. Clinical data were abstracted from medical charts. K. pneumoniae isolates were genotyped using whole genome sequencing, and yersiniabactin production was evaluated by luciferase assay. Results: Fourteen cases were confirmed with 8 symptomatic and 6 colonized patients. Symptomatic patients were infants of extremely low gestational and chronologic age with fulminant clinical courses including necrotizing enterocolitis and sepsis. Whole genome sequencing for bacterial isolates confirmed the presence of an outbreak. All outbreak isolates produced yersiniabactin. Conclusions: Yersiniabactin-producing K. pneumoniae can display a high pathogenicity in extremely premature infants with low chronologic age. This outbreak also underlines the considerable potential of today's infection control systems for recognizing and controlling nosocomial infections in highly vulnerable populations.

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