Genotyping technology was able to help researchers pinpoint the source of an outbreak of Mycobacterium mucogenicum--a gram-positive, acid-fast bacteria normally found in tap water--at a hematology clinic, according to researchers publishing in the November issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. The outbreak impacted four sickle cell patients, according to an announcement from the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.
The technology was used to match genetic material in the bacteria, which helped to establish the source of the outbreak: a contaminated faucet within the hospital. The contamination ultimately was traced back to a nurse who violated safety protocols by preparing injections at the sink's counter.
The researchers believe the nurse contaminated the fluid bag used to prepare injections when she washed her hands.
"This study demonstrates the efficacy of using genotyping technology in identifying the source of the outbreak," Muhammad Salman Ashraf, M.D., an assistant professor at The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University and co-author of the study, said in a statement. "But it also points to the need for proper infection control practice in clinic settings, and that faucet aerators should be avoided in all healthcare facilities, especially those caring for imunosuppressed patients."
New genomics technology is helping to speed cancer genome analysis from months to seconds. According to a study published earlier this year in Personalized Medicine, however, the business value of genomic medicine and its cost-effectiveness remain unclear, which could pose as barriers to more widespread adoption.