News Stories

How to Catch a Superbug

Superbugs are antibiotic-resistant bacteria that usually pass from person to person in hospitals, because of the large amounts of antibiotics that are administered there. The sad fact is, you can leave the hospital even sicker than you were when you entered!?especially since we now know that doctors are spreading superbugs with their cellphones. Now it has been discovered that simply staying in a room in the intensive care unit previously occupied by a patient with treatment-resistant bacteria may increase the odds of acquiring such bacteria yourself.

Dr. Susan S. Huang and her colleagues conducted a 20-month study of over 8,000 patients. Researchers had previously found that almost 30% of patients who acquire these pathogens develop infections or other complications within 18 months of leaving the hospital. Floors, beds, gowns, faucets and other hospital room fixtures are persistently contaminated with these bacteria, but it is not known whether levels of the bacteria are high enough to infect additional patients or whether currently mandated cleaning practices are effective in reducing bacterial spread.

The average patient?s was 61 years old, and 58% of them were male. Almost 30% of these ICU patients stayed in rooms in which the prior occupant had one of two common superbug infections. It was found that the patients who stayed in these contaminated rooms, despite the fact that they had been carefully cleaned, had an additional risk of catching the superbug themselves. The researchers concluded that, "Additional data are needed to determine whether more intensive cleaning practices can reduce the risk further and, if so, whether this is worthwhile in a resource-limited system." In other words, will investing in new and better cleaning equipment save lives?

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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