Healthcare News & Insights

‘Superbug’ is spreading, now in California

Patients in California are now becoming ill with a deadly infection as the hard-to-treat superbug makes it way into health care facilities across the nation.

The infection, carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, or CRKP kills roughly 40% of patients. The infections are limited to health care settings such as nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Unlike other superbugs, such as MRSA, it hasn’t spread to the general population.

More than 350 patients in Los Angeles county have been reported as infected with CRKP.

There are few treatment options for patients with CRKP. The bacteria is anti-biotic resistant. The most common treatment is the powerful antibiotic colistin, which is often toxic to patients — but even that is sometimes not able to kill the bug.

Public health officials urged health care workers to isolate patients with suspected CRKP, test those who’ve had contact with them and re-emphasize the importance of preventive measures, such as frequent hand-washing.

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