Plagues, Pestilences and Diseases
Deadly Superbug found infecting Australian Hospitals
* By Kellee Nolan
* From: AAP
* May 26, 2010 10:47AM
A DEADLY HOSPITAL Superbug that has killed thousands of people overseas
has been found for the first time in Australia.
The highly infectious and potentially deadly strain of Clostridium
difficile infection (CDI) has been found in three patients at
Melbourne's Epworth Hospital.
The hypervirulent strain of the bug has killed thousands of people in
Britain, North America and Europe in the last decade, but until now has
not been found in Australia.
Epworth Hospital executive medical director Megan Robertson said a
hospital specialist initially suspected an elderly patient might have
the hypervirulent strain of the bug in February.
The hospital then sought extraordinary testing to confirm the bug and
informed the Victorian Department of Health.
Three Epworth patients have now been found to have the hypervirulent
strain of CDI.
"We have had three confirmed cases of the hypervirulent strain and two
of these patients have recovered and been discharged," Dr Robertson
said in a statement.
"The other patient is still being treated for an illness not related to
this infection. It is not known whether these three cases are linked
because the prevalence of this strain in the wider Australian community
is unknown, due to lack of testing."
Epworth has reviewed its infection control procedures in response to
Dr Robertson said the normal strain of CDI was a common infection for
patients in hospitals and nursing homes and caused diarrhoea following
a course of antibiotics.
However the hypervirulent strain causes increased frequency, severity
and relapse of infection.