Drug-Resistant Bug Navigates NIH Hospital
When the National Institutes of Health's elite hospital struggles to track and contain a hospital-acquired superbug, it should serve as a reminder to all facilities that extra caution is always warranted when it comes to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
A study published online Wednesday by Science Translational Medicine detailed how 18 patients at the agency's Clinical Center were infected with antibiotic-resistant Klebsiella pneumonia beginning last June. It started with a patient with a history of drug-resistant infections was transferred in from an unidentified New York hospital. Although she was isolated, the infection transferred to at least three other patients. Those subsequent infections led researchers to sequence the bacteria's genes - the newer infections matched the New York patient's infection, demonstrating that the newer infections had indeed been acquired at the NIH hospital.
The NIH is the pinnacle of infection prevention, so this case goes to show that bacteria are still outsmarting researchers and diagnosticians. Their efforts to sequence the genes of the infector, though certainly costly, allowed them to trace the spread of this resistant strain. While this may not always be an option in most facilities, important lessons can be drawn from this case.
Are there steps your facility takes to monitor for antibiotic resistance or trace hospital-acquired infections?