A number of hospitals across the country, including those in the southeastern part of the country, are struggling to contain infections caused by so-called superbugs.
These superbugs are also called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). These germs are resistant to most of the antibiotics used to treat infections, and the World Health Organization considers them one of the greatest threats to human health. CRE is linked to a number of hospital-acquired infections, including urinary tract infections, blood infections and lung infections. These superbug infections can be deadly and account for approximately 50% of fatalities.
In the recent study, researchers found community hospitals in the southeastern US have seen a dramatic increase in the number of infections involving superbugs over the past five years alone. During this period of time, there was a five-time increase in the number of new superbug infection cases that were reported. The researchers found all of the infections were related to healthcare. In fact, the researchers believe the numbers are probably higher than indicated, because there are variations in hospital surveillance practices that could conceal many infection cases.
According to the research, community hospitals are short on staff as well as resources, and therefore they have not been able to implement solid measures to reduce the risk of such infections.
Hospital infections are a major cause of patient fatality every year. The kind of infections a patient who is admitted into the hospital for treatment can contract, include central line-associated bloodstream infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia and a number of other potentially fatal infections. In most of the cases, infections can be prevented through adherence to protocol, and policy guidelines related to the proper care and changing of catheters, the handling of IV lines, hand hygiene and the use of barriers like gloves and masks between the patient and staff member.