Clinical and Public Health Microbiology

Sublease Agreement – Bacterial strain exchange in hospital rooms

High-resolution metagenomics makes it possible to distinguish between pathogenic and non-pathogenic strains of similar bacteria, and also reveals that premature infants share, and can exchange, bacterial strains with their environment. Bacteria can form “room microbiomes” in hospitals and persist in the same location, colonizing numerous patients over a long period of time. In this process antibiotic resistant strains might be transmitted among patients without the need to ever meet each other or even being in the hospital at the same time. Understanding how these microbiomes operate is crucial to successfully eliminating pathogens premature infants and other patients pick up in institutional settings.