Drug-Resistant 'Superbug' May Spread Among Patients, Study Finds03/29/13
FRIDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- Drug-resistant bacteria
that cause lung infections in people with cystic fibrosis can be
passed indirectly from person to person, a new study finds.
Between 3 percent and 10 percent of cystic fibrosis patients in
the United States and Europe are infected with multi-drug resistant
Mycobacterium abscessus, and the numbers are rising. The
difficult-to-treat infection causes progressive lung damage.
In this study, researchers conducted DNA tracking of a
M. abscessusoutbreak that occurred among 31 cystic fibrosis
patients at a British treatment center between 2007 and 2011.
Despite tight infection-control measures, patient-to-patient
transmission was common, according to the study, published online
March 29 in the journal
The researchers were unable to pinpoint the exact method of
cross-infection between the patients. They said it likely occurred
through contamination of things such as hair, clothing and bedding,
or when bacteria were released into the air during procedures such
as lung function tests.
The findings will have a major effect on how cystic fibrosis
patients are cared for in hospitals and raise questions about the
effectiveness of current infection-control measures and the risk of
M. abscessuscross infection in other groups of patients,
said Dr. Andres Floto, of the University of Cambridge, and
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more
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