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'Nightmare Bacteria' Outbreak in Illinois

Wednesday, 08 January 2014 03:10 PM

An outbreak of what authorities are calling a "nightmare bacteria" is adding to concerns about the spread of drug-resistant bugs.
According to a new report in the Wall Street Journal, the outbreak has infected 44 people in Illinois over the past year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the outbreak, centered on a hospital in a Chicago suburb, involves a bug, known as carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, that contains a rare enzyme that breaks down antibiotics.
"This is a huge cluster," said Alex Kallen, a CDC medical officer who is overseeing the outbreak investigation, noting that only 97 cases of the infection have been reported since 2009. The superbug, which typically lives in the intestines, can be spread via fecal matter.
A handful of patients treated at the Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., showed symptoms of infection over the past year. The facility has contacted 243 patients who may have had contact with the bug during an endoscopic procedure examining bile and pancreatic ducts.
Of the 114 patients who returned for screenings, 38 tested positive. The CDC has found six other cases in Illinois, separate from the Park Ridge hospital.
While no problems were found with the hospital's cleaning methods for the endoscopic devices, bacteria were found on three of the instruments. The facility now uses gas sterilization to clean them, rather than simply washing and disinfecting them.
"These types of bacteria are an emerging problem," said Leo Kelly, vice president of medical management at the hospital.


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New concerns about drug-resistant superbugs are being fed by an outbreak of what authorities are calling a 'nightmare bacteria.'
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 03:10 PM
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