N&N hospital patients are tested for an antibiotic resistant superbug

Photo: James Bass.

Photo: James Bass. - Credit: Evening News © 2009

Patients at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital have been tested for an antibiotic-resistant superbug, it has emerged.

Six people were screened for carbapenemase-producing enterobacteriaceae (CPE) – a bacteria capable of resisting the most powerful antibiotics – after coming into contact with a patient who had recently been discharged from a foreign hospital.

Three of the six tested negative and the results of the remaining patients, who are now all at home, are due to emerge soon.

Dr Ngozi Elumogo, director of infection prevention and control at the N&N, said the hospital is confident all appropriate measures were taken and there is no public health risk.

CPE are bacteria that live in the gut and are normally harmless.


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But if they get into other parts of the body, such as the bladder or bloodstream, they can cause an infection. There are usually no symptoms until an infection appears.

Carbapenems are strong antibiotics similar to penicillin and are used by doctors as a 'last resort' to treat some infections when other antibiotics have failed.

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Dr Elumogo said: 'A patient who was recently discharged from a hospital overseas and then admitted to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in early September 2015 has tested positive for CPE in samples taken on admission to NNUH.

'There is no requirement to screen family contacts as this organism does not usually cause a problem in healthy people.'

A recent study found that operations could become 'virtually impossible' without urgent action to tackle the threat posed by antibiotic resistance.

Scientists at the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy in Washington DC predict that in the US alone, even a 10pc reduction in the effectiveness of treatments to prevent surgical infections would result in 2,100 more deaths each year.

They estimate that if the drugs lost 30pc of their power to protect against bugs, it would lead to 120,000 more infections and 6,300 more patients dying. In the worst scenario, a 70pc drop in efficacy was expected to add 5,000 lost lives to the US death toll.

Last year Public Health England (PHE) launched a toolkit for hospitals to help them control antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections caused by CPE.

Do you have a health story? Email nicholas.carding@archant.co.uk.

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