The number of people infected with antibioticresistant “superbugs” in Auckland is on the rise.
Government research institute Environmental Science and Research estimates 345.1 people per 100,000 in the Auckland region have a superbug, compared with 227 nationally.
While superbugs like methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE) can be harmless, the sick, elderly and very young can be more vulnerable to the disease.
If infected, large doses of antibiotics are required to fight the infection.
Green MP Sue Kedg- ley is concerned at the rising numbers in Auckland.
“It raises the question of where are they coming from in the community?
“The more cases that get established, the harder it is to contain or eliminate it.”
Ms Kedgley is worried there isn’t enough monitoring of superbugs in resthomes and childcare facilities to make sure children and the elderly are safe from infection.
An Auckland District Health Board spokeswoman says Auckland has historically higher rates of MRSA and other infectious diseases than the rest of the country.
She says a bigger population base and higher immigration rates means there will be more cases in Auckland, with MRSA present in the community since the early 1990s.
In 2008 232 patients were admitted to Auckland Hospital with MRSA, but most brought the disease into the hospital with them.
Many of these people were carrying the disease on their skin or in their nasal passages, but weren’t actually infected with it.
During 2007 there was an outbreak of VRE at Auckland Hospital, which took several months to get rid of.
Ms Kedgley says she would like to see a national screening system put in place to help prevent the number of superbug cases from rising further.