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Rare Drug-Resistant Bacteria Spotted in U.S. Hospital
Date:6/22/2012

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, June 21 (HealthDay News) -- A rare type of deadly bacteria was found in two patients in a Rhode Island hospital in 2011, but swift treatment and infection control measures stopped any further spread, a new government report shows.

The bacterium -- called New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM)-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae -- is highly resistant to antibiotics and easily spread. It is rare in the United States, but more common in areas including India, Pakistan, Cambodia and other Asian countries.

"These people had the bacteria in their body, but fortunately it was not causing an infection anywhere," said lead researcher Dr. Leonard Mermel, medical director of the department of epidemiology and infection control at Rhode Island Hospital, in Providence.

The bacteria were isolated in one patient's urine sample and in another patient's fecal sample, but nowhere else in their body.

Infections with this strain of bacteria, however, can be deadly and there are few treatment options, Mermel said.

Where the bacteria is endemic, its growth is spurred on by several conditions, he said.

"In many parts of the developing world, you can just walk into a pharmacy and get antibiotics without a prescription, so there is widespread antibiotic use," Mermel said.

This ease of getting antibiotics coupled with poor sanitation promotes bacteria growth and creates a "perfect storm" for the development of resistant strains of bacteria, he said.

The report was published in this week's issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a publication of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The first patient was hospitalized in Rhode Island, after being hospitalized in her native Cambodia and treated with antibiotics. In the U.S. hospital, infection was discovered and she received a wide range of antibiotics. However, only partia
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