Superbug Infection Rates among Children Increase at Alarming Pace
Superbugs are bacteria that have grown immune to treatment with modern antibiotics, killing tens of thousands of Americans in hospitals every year. However, hospitals and health care practitioners should be aware of is how these harmful bacteria can affect children, and create policies to protect the most vulnerable patients.
According to a study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, a 4.5 percent increase in CRE infections among 1 to 5 year old children in intensive care has been observed from 2011 to 2012. Centers for Disease Control statistics show the death rate for CRE is 50 percent in adults. Limited data exists for CRE death rates in children, which could be much higher.
CRE is commonly spread from person to person through contact with medical devices. Medical devices such as catheters, ventilators and duodenoscopes can spread the lethal infection.
Can Hospitals Protect Children From Superbug Infections?
Hospitals have a duty to care for the safety of all hospital patients, but especially children. There have been attempts to discover more information on how to prevent superbug infections among children. Researchers are working to identify children most at risk for developing CRE infections and hospitals have enacted new policies to stop the spread of these infections.
Some hospitals are using sterilizing gas to clean medical devices that can carry CRE, as other methods have failed to work. Hospitals are also looking for ways to identify patients who carry CRE and other superbugs so they can be put under isolation. By putting patients who carry CRE under isolation, the superbug could have a more difficult time affecting other patients in hospitals.
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