Nursing homes brace for the “nightmare bacteria”

Nursing homes brace for the “nightmare bacteria”

Longterm care facilities are bracing for what federal health officials call a “nightmare” drug-resistant bacteria that kills almost half of those it infects, after officials received a strongly worded advisory last week.

A new report showed cases of the bacteria soared five-fold in 10 years and spread from one state to 42. It is believed to have caused 17 South Florida deaths.

Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said last week that while CRE cases remain clustered in hospitals and care facilities, healthcare leaders need to “act rapidly” to prevent the bacteria’s spread to the community. Frieden said he supports reporting cases in hospitals.

The bacteria also has built up defenses against almost all antibiotics, CDC officials said, making it extremely dangerous when it invades the bloodstream.The bacteria typically is spread through contaminated medical equipment such as IV lines, or person-to-person contact.

Just since 2008, health officials have investigated seven Florida outbreaks involving 285 people of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE. Two were in Broward County, infecting 40 patients and resulting in 17 “associated” deaths, state health officials said. There were no Palm Beach Countyoutbreaks in that time period.

Read more here: http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2013-03-11/health/fl-bacteria-infection-precautions-20130311_1_homes-brace-care-facilities-enterobacteriaceae