Twelve cases of a drug-resistant staph infection have been confirmed in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Children’s Hospital, CNN reports.
The cases include six babies — one of whom is potentially symptomatic — and six symptomatic employees. They have all tested positive for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the hospital told CNN.
Staph infections are caused by germs commonly found on the skin or in the nose and can turn deadly if spread to the bloodstream, joints, bones, lungs or heart, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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While treatment usually involves antibiotics and drainage of the infected area, staph infections caused by MRSA are significantly difficult to treat because they are resistant to many antibiotics. More extreme cases of the infection can result in sepsis or even death.
“UPMC always follows CDC guidelines, and isolation protocols and infection control procedures are in place,” the hospital told CNN in a statement. “We immediately notified the Allegheny County Health Department and Pennsylvania Department of Health and are collaborating to ensure the safest possible environment for patient care.”
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According to a recent CDC report, an estimated 119,247 staph bloodstream infections were confirmed in 2017, and 19,832 of those cases resulted in death.
MRSA is typically spread by coming in contact with an infected wound, an infected person or someone with contaminated hands, according to the CDC. Hospital patients are more prone to infections, due to illnesses or open wounds. The CDC also finds that patients who have undergone surgery or dialysis have a higher chance of developing a MRSA infection.
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