Superbug invades So-Cal

Bacteria infests hospitals

A superbug is on the loose in hospitals in Southern California, according to a recent report released by the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

Data collected from reports filed by more than 50 L.A.-area hospitals and laboratories between June and December 2010 showed the presence of a drug-resistant bacteria known as carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (or CRKP). More than 350 cases of the potentially lethal bacteria were found at mostly long-term care facilities across L.A. County.

The bug is spread through human-to-human contact. While most cases were found in elderly individuals, anyone who comes into contact with an infected patient or environment is vulnerable to CRKP, which causes pneumonia-like symptoms.

The findings will be released by the Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America at its conference in April. The superbug appeared at Enloe Medical Center once in 2009, spokesperson Christina Chavira told the Enterprise-Record recently.