Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cockroaches as Vectors of Drug-Resistant Hospital Acquired Pathogens

Blatella germanica- a nosocomial nuisance
Researchers from Ethiopia and the USA have reported that cockroaches can carry multi-drug resistant pathogens. The report is published in Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control.

A total of 400 Blatella germanica roaches were aseptically collected for five consecutive months.  Pathogens such as Klebsiella oxytoca, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Citrobacter spp. Enterobacter cloacae, Citrobacter diversus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa,  Enterobacter aeruginosa, Salmonella C1, Non Group A streptococcus, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Acinetobacter spp. and Shigella were isolated both from the roaches internal and external organs. Multi-drug resistance was seen in all organisms.

The fact that cockroaches carry pathogenic bacteria has been reported for many years and should not be surprising. Here is another recent publication on the proposed role of cockroaches as vectors of hospital acquired pathogens.

In my opinion, there are greater risk factors for hospital acquired infections, such as poor hand hygiene and the improper insertion and use of invasive devices. However, if you find yourself in a clinical setting with visible cockroaches, be concerned as this is a direct marker of ineffective pest control and a surrogate marker of poor infection prevention efforts. 

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