Superbug fears at Limerick hospital

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

THE HSE has said it does not have sufficient information to assess the fatality risk to people who have been affected by the potentially lethal KPC superbug at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital.

THE HSE has said it does not have sufficient information to assess the fatality risk to people who have been affected by the potentially lethal KPC superbug at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital.

THE HSE has said it does not have sufficient information to assess the fatality risk to people who have been affected by the potentially lethal KPC superbug at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital.

Last week’s outbreak was the first ever recorded in an Irish hospital and reports cited research from the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention that KPC kills 40 per cent of those it infects.

This research, the HSE said “refers to patients who have a bloodstream infection and almost certainly have a severe pre-existing condition. We have not had sufficient cases in Ireland to give an Irish picture”.

Seven people in the Dooradoyle were confirmed last week as having been either colonised or infected with the hospital superbug. A hospital source last week said one patient was in intensive care but the HSE has not confirmed this.

“The seven patients all have other illnesses necessitating their stay in hospital. In six, this finding was as a consequence of a screening programme and as such they were ‘colonised’ and not infected. The other patient was infected and is still in hospital,” the HSE stated on Friday.

KPC stands for klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase, an enzyme produced by variants of the common bacterium klebsiella pneumoniae that live on the skin and in the mouth and guts of humans and can cause pneumonia and urinary tract infections.

The major worry with KPC is that it is resistant to the most commonly used antibiotics. An outbreak in Brazil last October is believed to have contributed to the deaths of over 20 people.

Visiting restrictions remained in force at the hospital over the weekend. The elderly, children, pregnant women, young adults, and those with chronic illnesses are asked not to visit the hospital until further notice. A deep clean of the hospital, among other infection control measures, was carried out last week.