Germ outbreak again at Berlin Charité

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Resistant germ affects patients in the intensive care unit

The Berlin University Clinic Charité is once again making the headlines: there is again an outbreak of dangerous bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. One patient has already died from the consequences of the infection.

Germ affects patients in the intensive care unit
The largest university hospital in Europe is again in the negative headlines due to a germ outbreak. Bacteriologists from the renowned clinic report an outbreak of the Klebsiella pneumoniae (KPC-3) germ. The bacterium has now affected six out of eight patients in a highly sterile intensive care unit. According to the clinic, the pathogen is the frequently occurring “carbapenemase-forming Klebsiella pneumoniae strain in Germany”.

One patient has died as a result of the infection. Another three patients who were transferred to the specialized clinic from other hospitals due to lung or Muliti organ failure are also infected. At most two patients were populated. Two patients also cared for in the ward were not infected. According to the clinic, "they are now being treated separately from the other patients."

Only in 2012 did five patients become infected with the same bacterium over a period of four months. It is "most likely that the strain is the same," explained the presiding hygienist, Professor Petra Gastmeyer, the medical newspaper.

A team of experts examines the background of the germ infestation
An internal and an external team of experts are now investigating how the resistant germ could survive or how the bacteria could get back into the highly sensitive station. A final assessment can only be made by the findings of the National Reference Center in Bochum. When this is created is still unclear.

An internal and an external outbreak team investigate how the germ survived or otherwise came to the station. The findings of the National Reference Center in Bochum should provide final clarification.

Resistant germs will be a European problem in the future
The medical director of the clinic, Professor Ulrich Frei, emphasized that "the outbreak with this germ is taken particularly seriously". However, Frei also referred to the increasing spread of the resistant bacterium and the limited therapeutic options. The only way of therapy is to give the antibiotic colistin. According to the head of the clinic, Klebsiella pneumoniae will face all hospitals in Europe in the near future. "We have to be prepared for the fact that more and more carbapenem-resistant germs will appear in European hospitals in the next few years," emphasized Gastmeyer. Another complicating problem is that the "research pipeline is empty". (sb)

Read on:
Charité: No hygiene problems due to germ contamination
Hygiene regulation effective against hospital germs?

Image: Sebastian Karkus /

Author and source information

Video: Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Imagefilm deutsch, HD

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