Two more patients confirmed to have superbug

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Two more patients confirmed to have superbug

Two more patients were confirmed to have NDM-1 CRE - a so-called superbacterium that is resistant to most antibiotics - at the same hospital where two patients were reported last week to be infected with the superbug.

According to the hospital, the new carriers have never been abroad and have been hospitalized for more than three months. One of the two men is in his 60s with chronic liver disease and the other is in his 70s suffering from a spinal infection.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it suspects the bacteria may have emerged from the intensive care unit of the hospital, where many patients suffering from serious illnesses are hospitalized, because all four patients were treated in the unit.

“Three of the four patients have recovered, but one patient, who is suffering from liver disease, is still being treated,” said Chung Gyung-tae, deputy scientific director for the Division of Antimicrobial Resistance at the Korea Centers for Disease Control. “The hospital said it has no more patients with the bacteria.”

The center said it consulted with nine experts from other organizations and its own 20 members to come up with teaching programs for doctors and nurses working at hospitals with at least 300 beds. The group also plans to open a workshop for 44 prestigious hospitals nationwide in an effort to prevent further infections.

There was concern last week when the superbug infected two elderly patients at the hospital.

But the Ministry of Health and Welfare said the bug is not a big concern because there are two antibiotics in Korea to combat the bacteria and it has so far only been discovered in patients with unhealthy immune systems.


By Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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