Deadly Germs Found On Hospital Patients

Four Patients In East Yorkshire Hospitals Found To Be Infected With A Potentially Deadly Bug

19.09.2014

A potentially deadly germ has been identified on four patients receiving treatment at the Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham.

The Grimsby Telegraph reports that a multi-drug resistant gram-negative (MDRGN) has been found to be carried by four individuals, raising concerns that the bacteria could spread and affected persons' immune systems may not respond to any medication they are given.

This could possibly result in the bug proving fatal, as patients' bodies may not be able to fight off potentially life-threatening illnesses.

Each of the affected patients had been transferred to a hospital in the East Yorkshire region, either from overseas or from another facility in England, indicating that the bug could in fact be much more widespread.

Infectious diseases consultant at Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust Dr Peter Moss commented: "So far, by a combination of diligence and a bit of good luck, we have kept patients isolated to prevent it spreading. But it is out there and you can't put the genie back in the bottle."

One of the four patients tested positive for an infection caused by MDRGN bacteria after contracting it at an intensive care unit in India before being transferred to the UK, while another patient discovered to be carrying the germ contracted the bug while he was being treated in a foreign intensive care unit for a head injury.

In a bid to keep the bug at bay, patients who have been transferred from other countries to UK hospitals are being isolated, while medical professionals are screening patients for any signs of infection caused by MDRGN.

One of the main issues surrounding the germ is that it cannot be treated with antibiotics, but to improve the chances of such medication working, Dr Moss is urging people to stop asking their GP for drugs for minor infections, such as colds.

The doctor explained that if the bloodstream is infected with E.coli, a healthy individual will have a 95 per cent chance of recovering fully, if they are treated with the right antibiotics.

"However, for a similar infection with multi-drug resistant gram bacteria, the death rate is about 50 per cent. That takes us back to where we were before antibiotics and that's a real worry," he added.

Chief medical officer for the UK Professor Sally Davies is calling on MPs to add antibiotic resistance to the National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies, as there are concerns that unless new medicines are developed, many bacteria will soon become resistant to treatments.

Expert Opinion
Reports of a deadly drug-resistant bacterium in UK hospitals are very troubling and it is imperative everything possible is done to limit the risks patients attending the affected hospitals are exposed to. We welcome the swift action taken by the Trust to isolate patients that may be infected with the bacteria to limit its spread in the region.

“Patient safety must always be a top priority for the NHS and that means ensuring outbreaks are kept under control and the number of people exposed to the bacteria reduced as much as possible. It is also vital steps are taken to reduce the reliance some medical professionals have on antibiotics for minor infections, as this has the potential to create even more drug-resistant strains of bacteria.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner