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Hospital overcrowding leads to record number of superbug cases

360 cases.  That's a new record of cases for the antibiotic resistant superbug VRE at the Ottawa Hospital. It is a sevenfold increase from the fifty cases last year at the same hospital. 

In fact, this is a very large number of cases at any hospital for this sort of superbug .  The Ontario government reports that for October 1 to December 31, 2010 there was a grand total of eight cases of VRE in all Ontario hospitals.  That's a a rate per 1,000 patient days of 0.00 .  

VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococci) is less well known than other superbugs like C. Difficile or MRSA, but it is of particular concern.  Reportedly, it is the first  strain of clinically important bacteria that is resistant to all available antimicrobials.

Like many other facilities, the Ottawa Hospital blames overcrowding for the outbreak.  

Overcrowding at hospitals hampers housekeeping efforts to keep up with cleaning and puts additional strain on nursing staff, who have to keep up with meticulous superbug protocols when visiting patients.

The hospital hopes to contain the outbreak by opening a newly renovated unit  later this month. For more click here.

The Ontario government continues to cut the number of hospital beds --another 19 hospital bed cuts were just announced in Kingston


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