Hospitals report more occurrences of deadly KPC bacteria

Bacteria that produces Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC)--a deadly infection that can cause pneumonia, sepsis and urinary tract infections--has been found more frequently among hospital patients in the Chicago area, according to a recent report published jointly by Rush University Medical Center and the Cook County Department of Public Health. The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America held last week in Vancouver, Canada, reports HealthDay News

"Infections due to these bacteria are difficult to treat because most strains are resistant to the majority of our usual antibiotics," said Dr. Mary Haden, director of clinical microbiology at Rush. "Some strains are resistant to all drugs." The bacteria tends to live in the intestines, on the skin and in the mouth, according to DOTmed News.

The share of healthcare facilities that reported finding the KPC-producing bacteria rose to 65 percent from 48 percent between 2009 and 2010, according to electronic surveys. "The mean number of patients who tested positive for the bacteria at each facility increased from 3.8 to 10.2," the study said. 

Intensive care patients who tested positive for KPC jumped from 23 percent in 2009 to 40 percent in 2010. In both years, most of the KPC positive patients--81 percent in 2009 and 75 percent in 2010--had been transferred from a long-term care facility or a long-term acute care hospital. 

The report's authors admitted that new screening protocols likely were partially responsible for the higher incidence rates reported. However, "[f]urther studies are needed to determine risk factors for infection/colonization and to develop effective measures to prevent spread," they wrote. 

To learn more:
- here's the report abstract
- read this press release from Rush University Medical Center
- check out this HealthDay News article
- read this DOTmed News piece