Outbreaks of infection with multiresistant potentially pathogenic micro-organisms in ICUs are generally caused by patients carrying these potentially pathogenic micro-organisms in the throat or gastrointestinal tract and thus acting as a reservoir for other patients. Prevention of transmission between patients is often extremely difficult owing to the lack of isolation facilities and the low nurse-to-patient ratio. In addition, only a few bacteria need be transmitted to the oropharynx of another patient to colonize the oral cavity and gastrointestinal tract and establish another reservoir. This chain of events can be stopped by decontaminating all long-stay patients in the ICU until the outbreak is over.
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