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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Emerging Biological Threat: New Super Bug

With the recent reports of the New Superbug it brings to light the necessity of having a plan, especially in the event of a collapse and expected refugee movement and degraded medical care making pandemics much more likely. This plan would be how you keep you and your survival team from being exposed to and infected by new and old communicable diseases. 

How you interact with strangers - which is bound to happen even in the lost remote locations.  Have you thought about quarantine protocols if and when these strangers/refugees or even members of your own group are thought to be contaminated?  What are your disinfectant and sterilization procedures, and when do they become necessary?  Do you have personal and group hygiene protocols?  Methods and resources for water purification? Do you have procedures and requirements for handling any livestock you may have such as chickens, goats, even cattle? 

The threat of rampant disease and pandemics, untreatable by any means we have now or the more minimal means we'll have in a total collapse scare the hell out of me as they should you.

CDC Article on the New Superbug

Emerging Superbug Requires Urgent Action, CDC Says.  An emerging superbug is infecting an increasing number of people in the United States, and health officials are calling for urgent action to stop its spread.

During the first six months of 2012, nearly 200 hospitals and long-term acute care facilities together treated at least one person who had been infected by the superbug, known as Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The bacteria is resistant to a class of antibiotics known as carbapenem, powerful drugs that are typically used as a last resort to treat resistant bacterial infections, thus the origin of the superbug's name.

CRE can cause pneumonia and blood and urinary tract infections. CRE infections are still rare, and so far, nearly all cases have been seen in people who've had long-term care in hospitals, nursing homes or other healthcare facilities. But once a person becomes ill, the disease can be lethal, killing up to half of people who develop serious infections, the CDC said.

"CRE are nightmare bacteria. Our strongest antibiotics don’t work and patients are left with potentially untreatable infections," said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC. Doctors, hospitals and public health officials must work together to implement strategies to stop CRE's spread, Frieden said.

Enterobacteriaceae are a family of bacteria that include E. coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae, and typically live in the digestive tract, but can cause infections if they spread outside the gut, the CDC said. Over time, some of these bacteria have developed resistance to carbapenems.

CRE were first identified in the U.S. in 2001, and have now spread to 42 states. The new report, which examined U.S. health care infections, found that the percentage of Enterobacteriaceae that are resistant to carbapenems has increased fourfold during the last decade.

In 2012, 4.6 percent of hospitals and 18 percent of long-term acute care facilities, reported having a patient with a CRE infection, the CDC report said.

Healthy people don't usually develop CRE infections. People most at risk for infection are those whose care requires devices such as a ventilator or catheter, and who require a long course of antibiotics, the CDC said.

Hospital workers who don't properly wash their hands can spread the bacteria between patients, and the bacteria themselves can spread resistance to other similar bacteria.

Unlike methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), CRE hasn't spread into the community, Frieden said.

"That's really a message of hope: we still have a window of opportunity to stop it" before it becomes as prevalent as other antibiotic-resistant organisms like MRSA, Frieden said.

In 2012, the CDC created guidelines for preventing CRE infections in hospitals and other care facilities. These include following proper hand hygiene recommendations (hand-washing); grouping patients together who have CRE; dedicating certain staff members and equipment to people who have CRE; knowing which patients in a hospital have CRE and alerting other health care facilities about the infection if the patient is transferred; and using antibiotics wisely.

Facilities that have implemented these measures have seen a drop in their CRE infection rates, Frieden said.

Patients can also play a role in prevention. For instance, if they have a catheter put in, they can ask how long it will be in place, and ask that it be removed as soon as possible, Frieden said.

Continued research into tests to detect CRE, and ways to treat it, is critical as well, Frieden said. The report will be published this week in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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