Su­per­bug con­cern

Central Leader - - News - By Scott Mor­gan

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.

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