More super-bug infections in Brazil

2010-11-06 20:06

Sao Paulo - The spread of an antibiotic-resistant super-bug in Brazil was worrying officials, as new cases emerged on Saturday following the recent deaths of at least 18 people.

Three patients in the northern state of Pernambuco were in stable condition in intensive care suffering Klebsiella pneumoniae Carbapenemase (KPC), a bacteria immune to most antibiotics, health officials told local media.

That brought the number of KPC-infected patients in Pernambuco hospitals to 10, they said.

Nationwide, more than 200 people have been infected with the bacteria this year, most of them in the past month.

At least 18 have died in hospitals in the capital Brasilia.

Brazil's health ministry has been following the situation closely, with officials calling on the public to remain calm, saying infections were only occurring in hospitals and affecting patients with compromised immune systems.

Measures have been put in place to restrict over-the-counter access to antibiotics, whose overuse is believed to have helped KPC develop resistance.

The drug-resistant form of KPC, which often causes death, was detected over a decade ago in the United States, and became a health problem in Chicago hospitals three years ago. Cases have also surfaced in Israel and Europe.