After the death of four more people victims of the KPC superbacteria in Brazil’s capital Brasília the death toll so far this year due to the virus has risen to 22, health officials in Brasília said earlier this week, adding that the situation has begun to be brought “under control.”
The deaths have been caused by the Klebsiella Pneumoniae Carbapenemase (KPC) bacteria, which has demonstrated an extraordinary resistance to antibiotics and is suspected of developing in hospitals in the capital due to a lack of hygiene and over capacity.
The tests performed on four people who died in the past two weeks showed that they were victims of KPC, raising the death toll from the bacteria to 22, the Federal District Health Secretariat said.
The number of known cases of people infected with KPC increased from 135 to 207 in the last 30 days, but the great majority of them have recovered and only 12 are hospitalized at this time.
KPC was identified in hospitals in Brasilia around the middle of the year, but since then cases have been cropping up in other parts of the country.
Up until last week, according to the latest report by the Health Ministry, 70 cases had been detected in Sao Paulo state, 12 in Minas Gerais, 18 in Paraíba, seven in Pernambuco, four in Goiás and three each in Santa Catarina, Espírito Santo and Bahia.
In the face of the bacteria’s spread, the government has placed limitations on the sale of antibiotics, which since October 21 may only be obtained by prescription.
The aim of the measure is to prevent people from self-medicating and to restrict the exaggerated and unwarranted consumption of antibiotics, since that helps increase the resistance of the bacteria to such medications.
Brasília is also dealing with the deaths of 11 babies from infection in less than a month in the Hospital Regional da Asa Sul (HRAS), an institution that is a reference in obstetrics and pediatrics in the region. The limit of deaths considered “acceptable” is three babies per month.
The deceased babies were premature or had some malformation and they hospitalized in the neonatal section of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
None of the deaths were attributed to the superbug KPC. “For sure it’s not the new superbug, no until today,” said the director of the HRAS, Alberto Henrique Barbosa. “But it turned the yellow light,” he said.
Tests revealed that the dead babies have been infected by the bacteria Staphylococcus, Serratia and Klebsiella, the latter is a kind of relative of the KPC, but that is not resistant to antibiotics.