The ABC has reported (17 June 2015) ‘health officials are warning about a “particularly concerning” antibiotic-resistant superbug they believe has been responsible for two deaths in Victoria in the last three years.
‘Hospitals have been advised to strictly enforce current standards on managing antibiotic-resistant bacteria and new interim guidelines have been put in place, particularly for patients who have recently received medical treatment overseas.’
Apparently this new bug, known as KPC, is a strain of CRE (carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae) and is resistant to some of the most powerful antibiotics.
Dr Finn Romanes, Victoria’s acting chief health officer, told the ABC that hospitals have been asked to introduce heightened infection control procedures.
Some 57 people have been infected or colonised by the bacteria in Victoria since 2012, the majority of which were in a cluster at St Vincent’s Hospital. Eighteen of those affected have died and health officials believe KPC was responsible for at least two of those deaths.
“It would be likely that quite a number of patients will have died because of, or through contribution from this infection. That’s why we’re taking this problem seriously,” he said.
“We’re advising now that our system is on heightened alert.
“We are determined to do all we can to prevent, detect and manage this problem.”
So far this year three elderly patients have become infected with KPC at St Vincent’s Hospital but there have been no new cases since March.
The bacteria can be present in a patient’s bowels without causing any problem but some may develop a urinary tract or blood stream infection.