Health officials this afternoon sent clear word that they are doing everything possible to ensure an organism now affecting some patients at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is contained.
Furthermore, they have given the assurance as well that the three patients so far that have been found to have been affected by the worrisome klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria, are receiving the best care.
In sending out the reassurance at a press briefing at the hospital this afternoon, CEO Dr. Dexter James said despite dealing with the presence of the organisms for the past 18 months, they had raised the alert when they found a new strain of the virus.
James said the upsurge in the klebsiella pneumonia organism was something being noticed globally and not just at the QEH, which had called in assistance from the Pan American Health Organisation, which now has a four-member team in the facility.
At the conclusion of the work of the team, which it was explained was working over three days in concert with the QEH’s own staff, James said he believed within about two weeks they would have a clearer path forward.
“The work starts today and concludes on Friday and within two weeks of Friday we will get a comprehensive report on the findings with a clear action plan on the way forward,” he said.
In the meantime, Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. Corey Forde told media that they had already begun the process of sensitising all within the hospital about the procedures currently in place.
“What we want to do is to continue to assure the public that it is indeed safe to come to the QEH both as patients and as visitors. From the infection control perspective I would like to emphasise and we have emphasised strengthening our hand hygiene practices and hand washing practices.
“We also recommended wider use of personal protective equipment by our staff. We continue to emphasise our educational programmes which had been in place before and which would involve seminars and basic health care practices.” In recognising the issue, Forde said they had increased supplies to the hospital infectious control unit, in terms of providing protective equipment to units and wards. Additionally, he said there was a cadre of nurses which was in charge of ensuring the health care guidelines were established and followed.
He said there was regular auditing of the wards to check for the presence of the organisms, adding that the arrival of PAHO officials would help with their own screening in this regard.
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”.
Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Joy St. John explained that the organism was found in some parts of the body ordinarily, but in healthy persons it was unlikely to have any adverse effects that would result in infection. (LB)
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