Should Hospitals Disclose Superbug Outbreaks?

April 26, 2019

MRSA, E. coli, pneumonia, and now Candida auris… with a growing list of superbugs, should hospitals let people know about outbreaks before they become patients? People who’ve caught an infection give that an emphatic yes. While it may not always be avoidable, many are looking at their options when dealing with hospitals, superbugs, and all the current outbreaks.

Superbugs are germs that have become resistant to treatment: antibiotic resistant bacteria, and antifungal resistant fungi. MRSA has been around for decades, but it’s become increasingly common—many people who are currently healthy may be carriers. Drug resistant E. coli was discovered in China only a few years ago… but it was quickly revealed that it was already a global problem (and possibly the most threatening superbug, as it’s primed to share its drug resistant genes).

The newest superbug sweeping the nation is Candida auris, a fungal infection that many hospitals have come forward with, and likely many more are silently battling. New York and Illinois have the most cases of antifungal resistant C. auris. According to Illinois, not disclosing hospitals that may carry the superbugs is actually about protecting patient privacy.

Following a good hygiene protocol is key to hospital success in fighting superbugs—frequent handwashing, changing catheters/IVs/etc. within the recommended time, and following a thorough cleaning schedule for hospital rooms has been shown to reduce transmission. Patients can help by self-advocating, and watching for early signs of infection.

When superbugs take root in hospitals and other care facilities, they can easily end up in communities. You can protect yourself at home by limiting visits to doctors and hospitals (most offices now have nurse lines to call first), cleaning and washing hands frequently, and supporting your immune system with colloidal silver.

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