Contaminated parenteral nutrition (PN) is an important source of infection in neonates. Many organisms have been reported to cause contamination that results in outbreaks in intensive care units. The objective of this study was to investigate an outbreak caused by Pantoea spp., which contaminates PN, in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This was a descriptive study of an outbreak of sepsis in an NICU of a tertiary teaching hospital in Malaysia. Pantoea spp. infection was detected in eight patients over a three-day period from 24 to 27 January 2004 following the administration of PN. Seven of the eight patients died due to the infection. Extensive environmental samplings for culture were performed. PN solution from the NICU and the pharmacy were also cultured during the outbreak period. Pantoea spp. was isolated from blood cultures of all infected patients, and the unused PN from the pharmacy and the NICU. All the strains of Pantoea spp. had a similar antibiotic susceptibility pattern and biochemical reaction. From the results, we concluded that PN was the source of the outbreak and the contamination may have occurred during its preparation in the pharmacy. A thorough investigation has been carried out and, where possible, corrective measures have been taken to avoid similar outbreaks in the future.
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