Southern California hospitals have seen an outbreak of the new superbug sweeping the nation: carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (CRKP). Like MRSA, CRKP has grown in hospitals and reitrement homes. Although the US and other countries have seen outbreaks, a new study has revealed that it is more prevalent in hospitals than previously believed.
CRKP is most likely to affect the elderly, and anyone being treated with a foreign object like a catheter.
Incredibly deadly, CRKP kills about a third of those infected, and is easily transmitted if proper hygiene procedures are not observed. There is only one antibiotic that is known to work against CRKP, and besides not working in all instances, it can cause kidney damage.
Unfortunately, over the next few decades, antibiotic resistant bacteria are going to become more common as few drug companies are working to create new antibiotics (the amount of research vs. the life of an antibiotic keeps it from being profitable).
Keep Your Family Safe From Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria
In general, you should practice good hygiene in your homeâ€”Clean Hands Save Lives. That means washing before eating or touching your eyes/mouth, and washing hands extra-frequently during flu season.
When you or a loved one is in the hospital, itâ€™s OK to ask if doctors have washed their hands and to remind them to do so if you donâ€™t see them do it. Talk to your doctors about limiting the use of catheters and respirators to what is absolutely necessary, as prolonged contact increases the likelihood infection will breed.
And ask about syringesâ€”rarely, doctors and nurses have reused syringes, resulting in outbreaks of Hepatitis C.
Limit your interaction with everything in the hospital, including toys and magazines in the waiting room, and wash your hands frequently while visiting. Some technologically forward hospitals are using nano silver coated materials (including catheters) and surfaces (glass) to prevent the spread of infection, but those practices are new and not yet wide spread, so stay vigilant.
What are your safe hospital practices? How else should people actively protect themselves while a patient in a hospital?