Today, Los Angeles public health officials report an outbreak of the drug-resistant superbug carbapenem-resistent Klebsiella pneumoniae in local healthcare facilities.
According to the LA Times, medical epidemiologists say this is a drug-resistant bacterium — a relative of E coli — thought to kill approximately 40 percent of those who are infected within 30 days.
Here’s what health officials know so far:
The LA county health department required area hospitals to report on recent infections and found 356 cases of the CRKP bacteria in healthcare facilities. 146 of those cases were at eight different long-term acute-care hospitals in LA county, and one hospital, which was not named, was considered to have an outbreak. The rest of the infections were in nursing homes, short-term acute-care hospitals, and county-run hospitals.
The bacteria is resistant to most antibiotics other than colistin — a powerful drug that can cause kidney damage. The majority of the current patients with CRKP infects are elderly or have some underlying medical condition that makes them more vulnerable to infection.
Superbugs are strains of bacteria that have mutated and become resistant to antibiotics. This particular outbreak has the CDC weighing in:
“These are very serious infections, hugely complicated by the fact that the treatment options are severely limited.” Although the hospital association of Southern California says it’s not alarmed — it has seen and been able to control outbreaks of this bacterium before.
Do you think about superbugs and other infection possibilities if you have to take your kids to the ER or anyone in your family has to go to the hospital?