A superbug outbreak at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Maryland has claimed its seventh victim, the Associated Press reported. He was the 19th patient at the hospital so far to become infected by an antibiotic-resistant strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae.
Making matters worse is that the NIH clinical center is not actually required to report hospital-borne infections, the Washington Post reported. And hospital officials refused to tell the Post more details about the victim, such as his name and age. The hospital blames the outbreak on an infected patient that was admitted to the hospital last year.
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A Washington Post investigation from last month reveals that the NIH waited six months before bothering to tell the public about its superbug epidemic.
Superbugs, or infections that are resistant to antibiotics, have a wide array of causes. Researchers have blamed over-exposure to antibiotics as one likely cause. In February, researchers found that using antibiotics in meat had caused farmers to develop drug-resistant skin infections, a different type of superbug.
The Klebsiella superbug, meanwhile, mostly infects patients who are already very ill. It has been a major problem in hospitals, the Post reported, with 6 percent of hospitals nationwide battling outbreaks.