Blood-Infecting CRAB Superbug Overruns NJ ICUs

Acinetobacter. Image courtesy of CDC/Janice Carr.

“The coronavirus can overwhelm a hospital, straining care and leaving patients vulnerable to other unwanted outcomes.”

Dec 1, 2020

NBC News – As a New Jersey hospital faced a surge of Covid-19 cases in the spring, another deadly foe was quietly spreading among its patients: a drug-resistant bacterial infection.

The superbug outbreak, detailed in a report published Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shows how the coronavirus can overwhelm a hospital, straining care and leaving patients vulnerable to other unwanted outcomes.

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Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumanii, or CRAB, is a drug-resistant bacterium known to spread in hospitals, particularly in intensive care units.

It can cause pneumonia as well as wound, blood and urinary tract infections, according to the CDC.

Carbapenem, a powerful antibiotic, is ineffective at treating the infection.

Not all patients get sick — in some cases, the bacteria can “colonize” the body, but not cause an infection. These patients can still spread the bacteria to others.

The outbreak was first detected in the unnamed New Jersey hospital on May 28, according to the CDC report. [Virtually all hospitals receive taxpayer funding; the lack of transparency and failure to identify the hospital(s) in question is a public disservice. – HH]

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Further investigation by the hospital and the state health department identified a total of 34 patients who had caught the superbug from February to July. Typically, the hospital sees up to two cases a month.

The majority of the cases — 82 percent — occurred in March through June … Read more. 


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