NHS: Potentially dangerous hospital bug cases ‘not linked’


A Teesside hospital trust says a recent “spike” in cases involving a potentially dangerous bacterium are unlikely to be linked to each other.

North Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust recorded five cases of hospital-onset Klebsiella in April – a third of the overall total recorded in a 12 month period over 2021/22.

Klebsiella normally lives inside human intestines where it doesn’t cause disease, but if it gets into other areas of the body it can lead to a range of illnesses, including pneumonia, bloodstream infections and meningitis.

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The bacteria is spread through faecal contamination with good hand hygiene practice in healthcare settings considered the best way to prevent it.

A report said the five cases were above the “projected trajectory” of one case for the month of April.

It said further surveillance had not identified any links between the cases which involved different sources and clinical areas.

A spokeswoman for the trust, which runs hospitals in Hartlepool and Stockton, said: “The Trust remains dedicated to infection prevention control measures to ensure we keep all patients, visitors and staff as safe as possible. 

“An increase in Klebsiella bacterium cases above our projected trajectory has been recognised.  

“Further review of these cases has identified multiple sources such as urinary tract infections, hepatobiliary and gastrointestinal, differing admission dates and ward areas which indicates that the cases are unlikely to be linked to each other.”

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She added:  “Most of the positive samples fell just outside of the community-onset reporting criteria set by NHS England and Improvement of ‘any sample taken within 48 hours of admission’ indicating that symptom onset is likely due to be the reason for admission. 

“Recognising a higher number [of cases] than usual occurred, measures have been reviewed and continue to be implemented to ensure we maintain our standard high performance regards infection control.”

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