Infection controls in place for superbug

2011-10-17 22:46

Johannesburg - Additional infection control measures have been put in place at the Life Glynnwood Hospital in Benoni where two people with an antibiotic resistant infection died, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said on Monday.

"In response to the outbreak, additional infection control measures to reduce [the] spread of these organisms within the hospital have been instituted, and a monitoring programme for patients has been set up to detect any new infections or colonisation...," the NICD said in a statement.

"Two of the patients have died; both had advanced disease due to underlying chronic illness and it is likely that these co-morbidities played a major role in their demise," the NICD said.

Spreading rapidly

In a separate statement, posted on the hospital's website, Dr Steve Taylor, medical director for Life Healthcare said by October 14 nine patients had been confirmed as being either carriers or infected with New Delhi metallo-b-lactamase - which produces an enzyme NDM-1 which makes it extremely antibiotic resistant.

Previously most patients infected with NDM-1 producing bacteria could be traced back to people who had recently visited India or received medical treatment there, the hospital explained.

However, the ability of NDM-1 bacterial resistance to spread rapidly means that secondary infections unrelated to travel to the Indian sub-continent have begun to surface around the world.

NDM-1 bacterial infections can occur in any healthcare facility worldwide and in South Africa, and have been identified in both private and public sector hospitals in the UK, US, Australia, Japan and Kenya, Taylor said.

In most cases, the NDM-1 producing bacteria lived within the gastro-intestinal tract of a person without causing harm.

Months without knowing

People could live for months without even knowing they were carriers of these bacteria and would not present with any symptoms.

However, when human host immune systems become compromised, or when gut colonising NDM-1 producing bacteria spread to the bloodstream or urinary tract, or when they are spread from an infected source to a new patient, potentially serious infections could occur, the hospital said.

All patients admitted to the hospital's intensive care unit and high care unit would be screened, and doctors would review cases where patients had been on antibiotics for longer than five days.

The NICD said that most of the patients had underlying conditions that would place them at greater risk of acquiring these organisms, and had been hospitalised for an extended period.

Worldwide resistance

The NICD said the NDM-1 enzyme made bacteria resistant to a broad range of "beta-lactam" antibiotics, used to treat antibiotic-resistant infections.

This group included antibiotics such as the penicillins and cephalosporins.

Specific laboratory tests were required to identify these strains, and these tests were available in some laboratories in South Africa.

The NICD was setting up a monitoring programme for the public sector as well as a referral diagnostic service.

A number of laboratories in the private sector had the capacity for diagnosis, and were responsible for the diagnosis in the current cluster of patients.

Not all patients who harboured these bacteria were ill, but some had systemic infections and required definitive antibiotic treatment.

"Infection control measures and prudent antibiotic usage are overall critical factors in reducing the ongoing emergence of antibiotic resistance worldwide," the NICD said.


Read more on:    nicd  |  johannesburg  |  health  |  superbugs

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Saturday Hout Bay - 07:06 AM
    Road name: Chapmans Peak Drive
    ROAD CLOSED until 1400
  • Saturday Cape Town - 07:00 AM
    Road name: Rhodes Drive
    ROAD CLOSED between Constantia Nek and the M3 Highway until 1300
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia N9

The Nokia N9 has a beautiful one-piece, unibody design where...

From R2899.85

I'm shopping for:


Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.