CDC: “Superbug” Speads To 35 States; Kills Upwards Of 40% Of The People Who Come In Contact
This is possibly our biggest infection control dilemma yet. Although cases of this bacterial infection has been on the rise worldwide for the last 10 years, there is an alarming spread recently across the US. Thirty-five states have reported the outbreak, but there could be more in states not required to report it. What makes this opportunistic “superbug” such a nightmare is that it is Carbapenem-Resistant, meaning “last resort antibiotic” resistant. It’s a Carbapenem-Resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (CRKP); Klebsiella pneumoniae is a strain of Klebsiella which is related to E. Coli and Salmonella from the family Enterobacteriaceae.
Found inside the gut, outside of the gut, it can cause lethal infection. The major reservoirs of infection are the gastrointestinal tract of patients, catheters, unclean instruments, and the hands of hospital personnel. It zeros in on hospitals, ICUs, long term care faciities like nursing homes, and those with immuno-compromised conditions. It is a potential community-acquired type of pneumonia (different, not acquired from hospitals) and the bug has an incredible ability to mutate and resist. It does indeed carry a fatality rate between 35 and 50 percent or more.
Are we just to avoid hospitals and nursing homes to keep from this public threat? While CRKP and other resistant strains laugh in the face of antibiotics, there is some glimmer of hope. As of 2005, the EPA registered chlorine dioxide (aka MMS) as a disinfectant for MRSA. Pathogens cannot resist it and it does not harm humans. Unlike bleach, it requires very small concentrations, and leaves no residue. It completely breaks down thick cell walls which is one of the reasons these superbugs are so resistant.