Eleven new cases of a superbug in Cork hospitals

Eleven new cases of a superbug in Cork hospitals
Patients on trolleys trolleys at Cork University Hospital.

Eleven new cases of a superbug were reported in Cork hospitals in October, it has been revealed.

Carbapenemase producing Enterobacterales (CPE) is the newest in a long line of 'superbugs' (bacteria that are hard to kill with antibiotics).

The latest figures from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) revealed that nine new cases of CPE were detected in Cork University Hospital (CUH) in October 2018, along with two more in Mercy University Hospital (MUH).

This followed more than 1,200 rectal swabs and faeces screenings at both hospitals.

In October last year, just 198 rectal swabs and faeces tests were carried out at both CUH and MUH, and no new patients were detected.

National figures show that the number of CPE detections have increased more than two-fold since last year, from 36 in October 2017 to 81 in October 2018.

Guidelines suggest that people with CPE should be given a single, en-suite bedroom.

The NPHET report for October revealed that 19 of the patients diagnosed with CPE for that month were not accommodated properly.

Speaking at a Regional Health Forum in Cork earlier this year, Professor Martin Cormican, National lead for Healthcare Associated Infection and Antimicrobial resistance, said that CPE is the worst superbug Ireland has seen to date.

While CPE is harmless when it is in the gut, it is highly dangerous when it enters other parts of the body, which can happen particularly during illness or an operation.

"It does not burn out. There is no vaccine. It can stay with a person for months or even life.

“It’s a public health emergency that we could lose,” warned professor Cormican.

The United Nations discussed a health issue for the first time in 2016. 

It was regarding the defence against CPE.

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