Bacteria forced Puerto Rico hospital unit closure

September 10, 2013 by Danica Coto

A Puerto Rican hospital's intensive care unit was recently closed following an outbreak of a resistant bacteria strain, health officials revealed Tuesday.

At least 10 patients at the University of Puerto Rico Hospital in the northern city of Carolina who have since died were carrying the bacteria Acinetobacter baumannii, said Dr. Haydee Garcia, epidemiology director of the island's health department.

She said eight of the patients did not die from the , but it's unclear whether the bacteria caused the deaths of the other two.

The deaths occurred between May and July and prompted Garcia to ask the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate.

"When this bacteria appears, it's a concern," she said. "It's not normal for humans to carry that bacteria."

Garcia blamed the presence of the bacteria on , saying an investigation found that medical personnel were not following basic procedures such as frequently washing their hands.

The bacteria usually occurs in intensive care units and is responsible for some 80 percent of reported infections, according to the CDC website.

It is unclear how many deaths the bacteria might have caused in Puerto Rico compared to the U.S. mainland. CDC spokeswoman Melissa Dankel said those statistics were not available.

Dankel referred other questions about the outbreak to Garcia, noting that the CDC was invited to investigate.

Garcia said the , which is being remodeled, has since tested negative for the bacteria.

Explore further: Officials probe E. coli outbreak in US (Update)

Related Stories

Puerto Rico allocates $2M to fight citrus disease

August 27, 2013

Puerto Rico's governor declared a state of emergency Tuesday and ordered the release of $2 million to help agriculture officials fight a disease that has attacked citrus trees in the U.S. territory.

US drinking water sanitation still a concern: CDC

September 5, 2013

(HealthDay)—While U.S. water sanitation has improved, bacteria-laden drinking water continues to cause disease outbreaks, according to a report released Thursday by federal health officials.

Recommended for you

Zika virus may persist in the vagina days after infection

August 25, 2016

The Zika virus reproduces in the vaginal tissue of pregnant mice several days after infection, according to a study by Yale researchers. From the genitals, the virus spreads and infects the fetal brain, impairing fetal development. ...

Team discovers how Zika virus causes fetal brain damage

August 24, 2016

Infection by the Zika virus diverts a key protein necessary for neural cell division in the developing human fetus, thereby causing the birth defect microcephaly, a team of Yale scientists reported Aug. 24 in the journal ...

Immune breakthrough: Unscratching poison ivy's rash

August 23, 2016

We all know that a brush with poison ivy leaves us with an itchy painful rash. Now, Monash University and Harvard researchers have discovered the molecular cause of this irritation. The finding brings us a step closer to ...

Zika infection may affect adult brain cells

August 18, 2016

Concerns over the Zika virus have focused on pregnant women due to mounting evidence that it causes brain abnormalities in developing fetuses. However, new research in mice from scientists at The Rockefeller University and ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.