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: 2 babies died at Bahamas hospital after outbreak

Related Stories

2 babies died at Bahamas hospital after outbreak

July 29, 2012
(AP) — Hospital officials in the Bahamas say two babies have died and another six are being treated following a bacteria outbreak at a neonatal intensive care unit.

US warns over deadly, hard-to-treat bacteria (Update)

March 5, 2013
A deadly strain of hard-to-treat bacteria is spreading in US health facilities, posing a particular risk to the nation's most vulnerable patients, authorities said in a report on Tuesday.

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.

Officials probe E. coli outbreak in US (Update)

June 8, 2012
(AP) — A mysterious and scattered outbreak of the E. coli bacteria is linked to 14 illnesses in America, including a child's death, health officials say.

Contaminated ultrasound gel tied to outbreak of healthcare-associated infections

July 9, 2013
After a 2011 outbreak of P. aeruginosa, investigators at Beaumont Health System near Detroit, Michigan determined contaminated ultrasound gel was the source of bacteria causing the healthcare-associated infection. The findings ...

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 ...

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 ...

Study reveals how MRSA infection compromises lymphatic function

January 17, 2018
Infections of the skin or other soft tissues with the hard-to-treat MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) bacteria appear to permanently compromise the lymphatic system, which is crucial to immune system function. ...

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.