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Leicester Royal Infirmary patients tested for antibiotic resistant superbug after case diagnosed

Patients on 14 wards at Leicester Royal Infirmary have been tested for an antibiotic resistant superbug after a case was confirmed.

University Hospitals Leicester NHS Trust would not confirm how many patients have been diagnosed with CRO but they did say tests have been carried out as part of a “very stringent approach to infection prevention”.

CRO – carbapenem resistant organisms – are bacteria in the bowel that can cause infections and are no longer treatable with certain antibiotics.

Carbapenems are the top level of antibiotics, used for infections where other antibiotics have failed, meaning there are little or no treatment options for people diagnosed with it.

The infection can be spread through contact with someone who has the infection or by touching surfaces or objects used by a patient with it.

It is common in overseas countries but not in the UK.

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What do the hospital say?

David Jenkins, lead microbiologist at Leicester’s Hospitals said: “We recently identified a patient carrying a bacteria that is resistant to a wide range of antibiotics.

“In particular, the germ is resistant to a family of antibiotics called carbapenems.

“These are antibiotics that are often relied on for treatment of infections when many other antibiotics are ineffective.

“Carbapenem resistant organisms (CROs) are a group of germs which live harmlessly inside the bowel and, except for their resistance to antibiotics, are identical to our normal gut bacteria.

“Carrying them in the bowel is not a direct risk to patients. They are only a danger if they cause infections.

 

“Patients infected with CROs need to be treated with special, reserve antibiotics.

“We have a very stringent approach to infection prevention and as soon as we identified the presence of CRO in one patient we took the pragmatic approach to test further patients on our medical wards (14 wards) who may have come into direct or indirect contact with the carrier.”

“The safety of our patients is paramount and that is why we have taken the extra step of additional screening to ensure that the organism is contained and managed.”

Staff at the hospital have been advised to maintain good hand hygiene in a bid to prevent further spread of the infection.

David added: “Washing hands and using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer in a health care setting is one of the most effective interventions to stop the spread of many infectious diseases.”

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