Friday, August 24, 2012

Killer Bug Is Traced at NIH Hospital

Researchers unraveled a medical mystery that left six patients dead last year at the National Institutes of Health's elite research hospital, demonstrating that gene sequencing can help in the fight against hospital-acquired infections.
The NIH researchers' sleuth work—they stalked a deadly strain of antibiotic-resistant Klebsiella pneumonia through 18 patients at the agency's 243-bed Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md.—was detailed in a study published online Wednesday by Science Translational Medicine. The scientists sequenced the genes of the microbial invader to reveal its exact path from patient to patient until the deadly outbreak was contained in December.
The researchers determined that the bug was also spreading from sink drains, based on the genetic trail, possibly by splashing upward as people washed their hands. "We didn't test this possibility—we just had the plumbers take out the drain pipes," Dr. Segre said in an emai

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