By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The National Institute of Communicable Diseases in South Africa is reporting an outbreak of carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae at the neonatal unit at Tembisa hospital.

Klebsiella pneumoniae/CDC

According to the latest information, from 1 November 2019 through to 16 January 2020, 22 babies were diagnosed with a K. pneumoniae bloodstream infection and 21 babies were infected with a carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae strain, 10 deaths have been reported. There have been 3 new cases in January 2020 to date and no new deaths.

The Gauteng Department of Health and Tembisa Hospital management has drafted an operational plan, which is currently being implemented to address some of the contributory factors that drives the outbreak. In addition, the neonatal unit has continued to isolate babies with antibiotic-resistant infections in a separate section of the unit.

Outbreak News Merchandise

Klebsiella pneumoniae belongs to a group of bacteria called the Enterobacterales or Enterobacteriaceae and can cause serious infections in newborn babies. Some strains of K. pneumoniae are resistant to the broad-spectrum carbapenem group of antibiotics (these include ertapenem, imipenem, meropenem and doripenem) and are then referred to as carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE).

Infections caused by CRE strains can be difficult to treat. Strict adherence to contact precautions that includes isolation of cases in separate cubicles is recommended for babies with CRE infections.