Drug-resistant pathogen found in large numbers in LA County

March 24, 2011, Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America

Researchers with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health have found high rates of the multi-drug resistant pathogen, carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (CRKP) among the patient population in long-term acute care hospitals compared to general acute care hospitals across the county. These findings are particularly important because CRKP was thought to be contained to East Coast facilities and communities. These findings will be presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) on April 3 in Dallas.

CRKP is resistant to nearly all antibiotic options and has been associated with higher mortality, longer hospital stays and increased . Because CRKP was thought to be rare in Los Angeles County, though actual numbers were unknown, Dawn Terashita, MD, MPH, Medical Epidemiologist and colleagues, with the county's Department of Public Health sought to establish a to monitor its existence in the county.

After declaring CRKP a laboratory-reportable disease, meaning that its appearance must be reported by a laboratory if found during testing, Terashita's team noted unexpectedly high numbers of CRKP across the county. During the study period of June 2010 to December 2010, 350 cases of CRKP were identified. Many of the cases, 42 percent, occurred in long-term acute care hospitals, and 6 percent were found in patients residing in skilled nursing facilities.

"This study does not go as far as addressing why we are seeing these high rates. We do not know if the presence of CRKP in these long-term acute care settings is the result of improper care, or has more to do with the population they serve. These patients tend to be elderly, they are commonly on ventilators and they often stay at the facility for an extended period of time. They tend to have many health problems and are often placed on antibiotics which may or may not be appropriate. All of these factors contribute to a greater risk for health care acquired infections," said Dr. Terashita.

Terashita underscored the need to monitor the development of emerging pathogens such as CRKP more closely in healthcare facilities including long-term acute care facilities.

"If we want to stop resistant bacteria in their tracks, we have to know where to begin." said Arjun Srinivasan, MD, Associate Director of Healthcare-associated Infection Prevention Programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "These findings demonstrate the vital need to monitor drug-resistant bacteria and highlight the important and growing role that state and local health departments are playing in helping monitor and prevent healthcare-associated infections."

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Creation of synthetic horsepox virus could lead to more effective smallpox vaccine

January 19, 2018
UAlberta researchers created a new synthetic virus that could lead to the development of a more effective vaccine against smallpox. The discovery demonstrates how techniques based on the use of synthetic DNA can be used to ...

Study ends debate over role of steroids in treating septic shock

January 19, 2018
The results from the largest ever study of septic shock could improve treatment for critically ill patients and save health systems worldwide hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

New approach could help curtail hospitalizations due to influenza infection

January 18, 2018
More than 700,000 Americans were hospitalized due to illnesses associated with the seasonal flu during the 2014-15 flu season, according to federal estimates. A radical new approach to vaccine development at UCLA may help ...

Flu may be spread just by breathing, new study shows; coughing and sneezing not required

January 18, 2018
It is easier to spread the influenza virus (flu) than previously thought, according to a new University of Maryland-led study released today. People commonly believe that they can catch the flu by exposure to droplets from ...

Zika virus damages placenta, which may explain malformed babies

January 18, 2018
Though the Zika virus is widely known for a recent outbreak that caused children to be born with microencephaly, or having a small head, and other malformations, scientists have struggled to explain how the virus affects ...

Certain flu virus mutations may compensate for fitness costs of other mutations

January 18, 2018
Seasonal flu viruses continually undergo mutations that help them evade the human immune system, but some of these mutations can reduce a virus's potency. According to new research published in PLOS Pathogens, certain mutations ...

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.