“Superbug” Infection Linked to Seventh Patient Death At NIH Hospital

A so-called “superbug” infection that is resistant to treatment has claimed its seventh victim in about a year at a National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Maryland. 

On September 7, a boy died at the NIH hospital from a blood stream infection caused by a bacterium known as Klebsiella penumonie, which has sickened at least 19 people being treated at the facility since August 2011.

At least 7 deaths have been directly tied to the superbug, and another four patients reportedly died while infected at the hospital, but the cause of those deaths have not been directly linked to the infection.

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Efforts to treat the infections with antibiotics have mostly failed, which has led to the term, Superbug. Hospital officials hoped the bug had been wiped out of the hospital, since there had not been a case since January 2012. However, the most recent patient’s death suggests the bacteria is still in the building.

At first, it appeared that the boy was responding to treatment by one antibiotic, but it only took a week for the bacteria to develop an immunity. Hospital officials admit that he probably contracted the bug from another patient in the same unit, making it a hospital acquired infection. It is a genetic match for the germ that killed other patients. The boy had been fighting the infection since July.

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), there are more than 2 million hospital infections acquired each year, resulting in about 90,000 deaths annually. Another 1.5 million long term care and nursing home infections occur every year.

In recent years, there has been an increasing number of hospital infection lawsuits filed throughout the United States, as experts believe that most of these potentially life-threatening infections that develop in hospitals and medical centers can be prevented if steps are taken by the facility and staff.


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