According to a recent CDC report, drug-resistant bacteria infections may be easily contained if health officials, hospitals, and other health care facilities would closely cooperate.
The bacteria also known as superbugs have morphed into organisms that do no respond to common antibiotic treatment because of antibiotic overuse. Superbugs are estimated to affect over 2 million people in the U.S. alone and killing more than 23,000 every year.
CDC experts recommend hospitals to share the data they have on drug-resistant infections they have. They cited the positive results recorded in South Dakota since 2013 when state regulators asked health facilities to report back new cases of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) infections. In only two years, the infections attributed to bacteria resilient to antibiotics dwindled.
Researchers explained that nursing homes and hospitals struggle to contain these infections within their walls but fail to report the status of the patient infected with a superbug when transferring him or her to another facility.
As a result, even those facilities that do report and follow antibiotic use standards are at risk of superbug infections because they do not know that some of the recently transferred patients carry the drug-resistant germs.
“Antimicrobial resistance problems in one hospital can affect what happens in another hospital when they share patients,”
noted a CDC researcher.
According to the report, infection rates can be dramatically reduced only by implementing preventive measures and strict coordination. But a lack in these measures and communication led to a 12 percent rate of healthcare-related CRE infections in only five years, the CDC report revealed.
Early this year, there was a CRE outbreak at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Federal investigators found that the bacteria were passed from one patient to another through contaminated medical instruments because doctors weren’t briefed that some of the patients they had received carried the germs.
CDC Director Tom Frieden recently said in a press conference that patients should also take some precautionary measures. When in a hospital, they should wash their hands quite often, and request that any medical staffer do the same thing before touching them.
Moreover, patients should tell doctors that they had been transferred from another health care facility.
CDC researchers found that if there is enough coordination between hospitals, and between hospitals and public health departments, the CRE infection rates may drop by more than 600,000 new cases in half a decade.
On the other hand, if these measures are not implemented, the number of CRE infections is expected to rise by 10 percent to nearly 350,000 per year by 2020.
Image Source: Nursing Home Minnesota
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