Drug-Resistant Bacteria Discovered at Southern California Hospitals
Researchers have identified numerous cases of potentially dangerous drug-resistant bacteria at several health care facilities in Southern California, according to data released by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Dawn Terashita, a medical epidemiologist at the department, analyzed infection reports filed by 52 hospitals and regional laboratories between June 1, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2010 (Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times, 3/25).
Terashita's findings are included in a report scheduled to be released by the Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America at its conference in April (Evans, Torrance Daily Breeze, 3/24).
Background on the Bacteria
The bacteria -- called carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, or CRKP -- is considered an emerging infectious disease. The infection typically spreads through person-to-person contact in health care facilities.
Patients with certain health issues -- such as those with advanced diabetes or those using a catheter -- are particularly vulnerable to CRKP. The infection produces pneumonia-like symptoms that can be fatal for individuals in poor health.
According to CDC, CRKP is resistant to nearly all antimicrobial agents (Abram, Los Angeles Daily News, 3/24).
Terashita saidÂ researchers identified 356 cases of CRKP at health care facilities in Los Angeles County, primarily among elderly individuals. Of those cases, 146 infections were found at eight long-term acute care hospitals.
Twenty cases were reported at nursing homes and the rest were reported at short-term acute-care hospitals.
Terashita did not identify the facilities reporting the infections (Los Angeles Times, 3/25).
Jonathan Fielding, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said hospitals are aware of the problems involving drug-resistant bacteria and are dealing with the issue.
He added that hospitals are undertaking extensive measures to prevent the spread of the infection (Torrance Daily Breeze, 3/24).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.