Irish health officials are reporting an outbreak of CPE (Carbapenemase Producing Enterobacteriaceae) at University Hospital Limerick. There have been 21 new positive cases detected since June linked to this current outbreak. There are currently three CPE-positive inpatients and University Hospital Limerick and all necessary infection prevention and control measures are in place to manage this current outbreak. All cases detected since June relate to patients colonized with and not infected with CPE.

Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae/CDC
Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae/CDC

Strict visitor restrictions are in place at University Hospital Limerick–only one visitor per patient is allowed and during visiting hours (2pm to 4pm and 6pm to 9pm) only. Members of the public are reminded not to bring children on visits anywhere in the hospital. Parents visiting children are unaffected by the restrictions but are advised not to bring siblings until further notice.

A number of measures have been taken to deal with the current outbreak. These include:

  • twice weekly incident meetings convened for all affected areas
  • isolation of all positive patients with strict high level contact precautions
  • all CPE contacts are screened for a period of 28 days with 4 negative swabs.  These patients are isolated/cohorted with contact precautions
  • extensive environmental cleaning and hydrogen peroxide decontamination is underway

CPE is the newest in a long line of ‘superbugs’ (bacteria that are hard to kill with antibiotics). Many cases of CPE has been reported throughout the world in recent years. Ireland has seen an increase in the number of cases year on year. The number of cases almost doubled in 2016 to 280 cases and is estimated to increase by a third in 2017.