56 new cases of CPE superbug at GUH last year

A total of 56 new cases of patients with the antibiotic-resistant superbug ‘CPE’ were recorded in Galway’s two public hospitals in 2018 – the second-highest level of hospitals nationally.

A further 200 people with known CPE were inpatients at University Hospital Galway or Merlin Park last year. And the most up-to-date figures available from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre show that in January of this year, 23 inpatients were known CPE carriers, while a further seven new cases were recorded.

Last year, ten patients with known CPE were not isolated in single rooms during their time in UHG or Merlin Park, which is regarded as best practice by the HSE.

Following queries from the Galway City Tribune, the HSE insisted that infection control measures were put in place and it also wrote to all CPE ‘contacts’ – patients who shared a ward or clinical area with a person found to be carrying CPE – and added there is a 1 in 20 chance those people will go on to become CPE carriers themselves.

CPE is regarded as the most difficult superbug to kill with antibiotics, and it is estimated that there are around 2,000 people in Ireland who carry the bug. The outbreak has been classed in Ireland as a public health emergency.
This is a preview only. To read extensive coverage on the bug and testing at the two hospitals, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.