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Status Brief’

Developmental Milestones/Developments to Date:

Current Assessment/State of the Field:




Sternberg, SteveDrug-resistant ‘superbugs’ hit 35 states, spread worldwideUSA Today. Published September 17, 2010, Last accessed October 27, 2010

  1. “Bacteria that are able to survive every modern antibiotic are cropping up in many U.S. hospitals and are spreading outside the USA, public health officials say.”
  2. “The bugs, reported by hospitals in more than 35 states, typically strike the critically ill and are fatal in 30% to 60% of cases. Israeli doctors are battling an outbreak in Tel Aviv that has been traced to a patient from northern New Jersey, says Neil Fishman, director of infection control and epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania and president of the Society of Healthcare Epidemiologists.”
  3. “The bacteria are equipped with a gene that enables them to produce an enzyme that disables antibiotics. The enzyme is called Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenamase, or KPC. It disables carbapenam antibiotics, last-ditch treatments for infections that don’t respond to other drugs.”
  4. “Carbapenam-resistant germs are diagnosed mostly in hospital patients and are not spreading in the community. They’re far more common nationwide than bacteria carrying a gene called NDM-1 that made headlines this week, Fishman says.”
  5. “Although KPCs are most common in New York and New Jersey, Srinivasan says, “they’ve now been reported in more than half of the states.” A decade ago, only 1% of Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria reported to CDC by hospitals were carbapenam-resistant. Today, resistance has spread to more than 8% of these bacteria. No one knows precisely how many people have KPC infections because cases aren’t routinely reported to the CDC.”
  6. “One of the only drugs that combats these bugs is polymixin, which was all but abandoned years ago because it is so toxic to the kidneys, Fishman says. As a result, he says, prevention is crucial.”
  7. “In March 2009, the CDC gave hospitals new guidelines for prevention. Among other things, doctors treating any patient diagnosed with carbapenam-resistant infections are advised to wear gowns and gloves to protect themselves and make sure they don’t infect other patients.”

KPC, NDM-1, Public Health


Graham, Judith, “Drug-resistant bacterium raises alarms in ChicagoChicago Tribune Last accessed October 27, 2010.,0,6867309.story

  1. “A dangerous, often deadly bacterium resistant to the most powerful antibiotics known to medicine is spreading in Chicago hospitals and nursing homes, prompting an effort to mobilize a regionwide response.”
  2. “Earlier this year, 37 health facilities in Chicago reported an average of 10 KPC cases each, up from an average of four cases in 2009 in 26 facilities, according to a new study presented Friday at the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.”
  3. “They’re part of a class of organisms known as Gram-negative bacteria, whose best-known member is Escherichia coli, or E. coli.”
  4. “Over the last decade, Gram-negative bacteria have begun to evolve resistance to drugs once commonly used to fight them as well as to the drugs called carbapenems — medications of last resort that are used to treat infections that don’t respond to other interventions.”
  5. “Another drug-resistant Gram-negative bacterium originating in India made headlines around the world in September when disease trackers noted its emergence in Europe and the U.S. That organism carries a carbapenem-disabling gene known as NDM-1, which experts worry might be transferred to other pathogens and hasten drug resistance.”
  6. “An outbreak of KPC in Rio de Janeiro this year claimed 18 lives. The epicenter for infections in the U.S. is New York.”

KPC, NDM-1, Public Health


Editors, “Outbreak of deadly infection worries officialsAssociated Press Last accessed October 27, 2010.

  1. “An outbreak of deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria in Brazil has killed at least 18 people around Brazil’s capital, officials said Tuesday, and has prompted hurried measures to keep the problem from spreading.”
  2. “The outbreak of klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase in Brasilia follows others in Israel in 2007 and in Puerto Rico in 2008, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  3. “Brazil’s national health agency said the known toll so far stands at 18 dead, with 183 people hospitalized with the infection in the nation’s capital as last Thursday. The figures are updated on a weekly basis.”
  4. “KPC was first identified in the late 1990s, according to the CDC, and since then nearly 35 American states have reported cases of the infection. Chicago and New York both reported outbreaks of KPC recently, and cases have also been seen in Colombia, Greece, France and China.”

KPC, France, China, Public Health