Three patients contract klebsiella bacteria

Hospital CEO Dr. Dexter James (standing) having words with Dr. Corey Forde (left) and Dr. Clyde Cave ahead of the briefing.
Hospital CEO Dr. Dexter James (standing) having words with Dr. Corey Forde (left) and Dr. Clyde Cave ahead of the briefing.

Three children at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital have so far been affected by a bacteria officials there say is proving to be drug resistant.

But, said Head of Paediatrics Dr. Clyde Cave, they have found that a particular regiment of antibiotics is having some effect, and furthermore, parents of children in the neonatal intensive care unit should not worry.

Having found the presence of the bacteria in the hospital, he said the concern has been identifying the bacteria and making efforts to constrain it. Because the patients are in the NICU, he noted that by their very nature they would already be ill, which in itself created some challenges given that there were other factors in play.

He said as they were still investigating and had not yet discerned a cause of the bacteria, he could not give further details on the cases.

Noting that they had identified a different strain of the klebsiella pneumonia organism, Cave said: “Coincidentally, with this attempt and the recruitment of PAHO to look at the problem, we have identified a completely different and susceptible strain, a very few cases but they have emerged in our NICU which is a concern because the patients in the NICU are premature and therefore at risk.

“So before this becomes a problem of major significance, once we identify more than one or two cases of a particular germ we look to investigate to see where it is coming from, if there are any factors we can control to make it safer for our patients.”

The klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria can cause different health care-associated infections like pneumonia, bloodstream infections, wound or surgical site infections and meningitis.

It has been noted globally that the bacteria has developed resistance to a certain class of antibiotics, though Cave noted that they had found an antibiotic that seemed to be working.

Stating that the resistance factor was of concern to them, Cave maintained: “Over the last few days we have encountered a few cases of resistance that is extremely concerning to us, and while the good part about this strain that we have identified is that it still remains susceptible to an antibiotic which we have to treat our patients with, the general concern is that if this trend continues there will eventually come a time when there will be strains that we have no particular treatment for…”

He said this area of concern was one they were dealing with at present, and they were also satisfied that they had the resources, as far as antibiotic treatments were concerned.

The head of paediatrics emphasised that they were encouraging the public to help as well in exercising sanitary practices on visiting the wards and units and on leaving the health care institution, through the use of the antibacterial sanitary stations at the hospital. (LB)

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