A special infection control team has been called in by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to deal with an organism that has been discovered there.
In a statement issued tonight, the hospital revealed that over the last 18 months it had been dealing with an increase in infections caused by the Klebsiella Pneumoniae organism, which has been found on a number of wards.
While the QEH’s own Infection Control Team has been meeting with epidemiologists at the Ministry of Health to review protocols for handling the situation, the statement added:
“In an effort to strengthen the hospital’s quality control programme, an infection control team from the Pan American Health Organisation has been invited to review the operations of the QEH to increase the safety and level of patient care.
“The team, which arrived this evening, is expected to improve on disease surveillance systems, inclusive of a laboratory information system to enhance monitoring and treatment of Klebsiella Pneumonia cases.
“It is envisioned that this process will only be a first step towards a broader based programme to improve quality and detect weaknesses.”
In the meanwhile, it added: “The hospital has put several measures in place to mitigate the spread of these infections… Hygiene practices have been reinforced to provide a safer environment for patients and staff. Patients who have been diagnosed are being barrier nursed.”
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, Klebsiella Pneumoniae is a “bacteria that can cause different types of health care-associated infections, including pneumonia, bloodstream infections, wound or surgical site infections, and meningitis. Increasingly, Klebsiella bacteria have developed antimicrobial resistance, most recently to the class of antibiotics known as carbapenems.
“Klebsiella bacteria are normally found in the human intestines (where they do not cause disease). They are also found in human stool (feces). In health care settings, Klebsiella infections commonly occur among sick patients who are receiving treatment for other conditions. Patients whose care requires devices like ventilators (breathing machines) or intravenous (vein) catheters, and patients who are taking long courses of certain antibiotics are most at risk for Klebsiella infections. Healthy people usually do not get Klebsiella infections.” (RRM)