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Drug resistant bacterium caused 14 deaths in Taiwan in 2011

2012/05/08 20:57:52

Taipei, May 8 (CNA) Fourteen people died in 2011 after being infected with an antibiotic resistant bacterium recently detected at two hospitals in northern Taiwan, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Tuesday.

Of the 13 hospitals around Taiwan voluntarily participating in a program that monitors drug-resistant bacteria, two were found to have outbreaks of a drug-resistant bacterium known as Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase, according to tests from a CDC laboratory.

Fourteen of 27 people infected at the hospitals have died, the CDC said, adding that 16 of the 512 strains of bacteria being monitored contained an antibiotic-resistant enzyme.

The bacterium is resistant to carbapenems, an antibiotic with a broad spectrum of antibacterial activity, and partly resistant to two other antibiotics, said Luo Yi-chun, a doctor at the CDC.

The infection was probably spread among patients after they were infected during their hospitalization but not subsequently quarantined, said CDC official Huang Chih-ching.

Inaccurate implementation of control and preventive measures against infections could also be blamed, Huang added.

In 2010, a Taiwanese TV cameraman tested positive for the drug-resistant NDM-1 superbug, after being treated in India for a gunshot wound.

The case alarmed local hospitals and resulted in the current program.

(By Chen Ching-fang and Kendra Lin)