Fraser Health announces bacterial disease outbreak at Royal Columbian Hospital

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Royal Columbian Hospital is experiencing a Carbapenemase-Producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) outbreak in a medicine unit, according to Fraser health.

In a written statement, the regional health authority has revealed that patients at the New Westminster hospital who've been colonized with the bug have been separated from others.

CPE is found in human intestines and is "usually acquired through health exposures in countries where those bacteria are commonly found", such as South Asia, Greece, and parts of the United States. 

According to Fraser Health, CPE is often resistant to many antibiotics, making it difficult to treat.

A 2011 article by French researchers on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control website states: "Enterobacteriaceae are inhabitants of the intestinal flora and are among the most common human pathogens, causing infections such as cystitis and pyelonephritis with fever, septicemia, pneumonia, peritonitis, meningitis, and device-associated infections."

The article was listed under the category of "emerging infectious diseases".

"No vaccines are readily available for preventing infections with carbapenemase producers," the researchers wrote. "This finding is particularly true for E. coli, which is part of the human intestinal flora. Therefore, everything must be done to prevent infections as common as pyelonephritis from becoming life threatening because of the lack of any effective treatment."

Fraser Health is urging health-care providers and visitors to Royal Columbian Hospital to employ good hand-cleaning practices to keep themselves and patients safe.

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