A hospital in Pittsburgh is currently looking into the deaths of patients that could possibly be linked to mold infections. Eighteen patients were relocated whereas one lung transplant patient died with mold infection in his lung tissue. UPMC dismissed the mold infection as the cause and emphasized that lack of immunity in transplant patients is the reason for the death.
Despite maintaining a dismissive stance, UPMC Presbyterian cleared them by stating that in October 2015 their cardiothoracic intensive care units were checked for abundant tests for mold on almost everything susceptible and less susceptible to carry it: bed sheets, bathrooms, ceilings, food trays and even the dirt from outside the building. However, they have continued using their units along with probe in for the mold infections.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), claimed that the ‘negative pressure’ room where the transplant patients were kept might be the reason for this cross infection. This room is often reserved for the patients with infections.
New Superbug Found In USA Hospital: Menacing Mold Strikes
Official reports claim that two heart transplant patients who stayed in the intensive care unit died after contracting fungal infections. One case was reported in October 2014 after health officials discovered a mold infection on the patient’s left leg. The other case was reported in June after mold was discovered on the patient’s buttocks. Also, both molds were different as compared to those that were discovered on the lung tissue of transplant patients.
UPMC’s quality control chief Tami Minnier stated that doctors are not certain whether the infections caused the deaths. A review of patient records showed that the infections started almost a year ago. More recently, a fourth transplant patient died after developing a fungal infection due to a mold outbreak at a hospital in western Pennsylvania.
Superbugs And Molds In USA — Not Threatened By Sterilization
An estimated 250 people were reported sick due to a life-threatening ‘Superbug’ infection in the past three years. Officials at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are frantically trying to unravel how 179 people could have been exposed to such a deadly strain of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, reputed among the world’s best hospitals.
The infections have been linked with the use of contaminated medical endoscopes used in specialized procedures called ERCP which were performed at the hospital between October 2014 and January 2015. According to CBS News correspondent Carter Evans, seven people have been reportedly exposed since October 2014, of which two have died.
The latest report from the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions was by commissioned Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington. According to the report, at least 25 cases of infections attributed to infected duodenoscopes (used to treat conditions of pancreas and bile duct) have been found in four countries and 10 US states between 2012 and 2015. In 2015, the federal FDA reported that medical equipment from Olympus Corp. and various other manufacturers were linked to 142 infections.
These outbreaks include hospitals in Washington State, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, California, among others, reported that its patients had contracted similar drug-resistant bacterial infections from infected equipment, and notified public health authorities regarding Olympus Corp.
The report further state that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as the manufacturers of the specialized devices delayed informing doctors, hospitals and the general public regarding the risks of these infections by about 17 months, resulting in the seriousness of the situation. Also, 16 hospitals with such reported cases did not establish alarm or notify relevant authorities.
Murray highlighted that the outbreaks were antibiotic-resistant infections associated closely with medical devices. This was most prominently seen among patients at Virginia Mason – at least 32 contracted infections in 2013 and about 11 eventually died, although the cause of death might not be only these infections.
The culprit behind these menacing infections is a dangerous bacterium that resides on specialized scopes even after being cleaned according to professional directions. In 2015, the Seattle Times claimed that the bacterial species included carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae bacteria (CRE), ‘hyper-AmpC’ and unusual strains of multidrug-resistant E. coli.
Analyzing The Outbreaks: What Must Be done
Murray obtained records from Olympus, Pentax Medical and Fujifilm Medical Systems to analyze the growing concerns of infected scopes. The report has urged Congress to make sure that device identifiers be included in electronic health records, insurance claims and device registries. Moreover, it suggests that the FDA must evaluate design modifications and notify about any lapses or errors via a phased recall.
In the cases of deaths due to mold infections, the CDC has been tirelessly working to establish the exact cause of these tragic events. It claims that there could be several possible reasons, and everything from bed sheets to bathrooms to ceiling tiles and food trays is being tested for mold.
Superbug Found In USA
Meanwhile, infections from superbugs and drug resistant bacteria remain a constant threat to patients as well as healthcare centers. The CDC has made relevant recommendations as to how these infections can be controlled and how the circumstances can be improved. The key element in such a situation is to identify the exact cause of the outbreak.
The lack of infection control, a cause of death, is the least happening any health care system can afford. Cross infection controls, proper sterilization of doctors, equipment and hospital equipment is of prime importance. All the advancement in medical and surgical advancements seems to be failing, if such negligence is a cause of patient’s deaths. The reason is super infection bug or the mold spread, it is pointing fingers at the inattention of sterilization maintenance.
Also Read: “Superbug Is A Real Threat: WHO“