• Kyodo News


Teikyo University Hospital said Wednesday four more people have died among inpatients infected with Acinetobacter, an antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and it will not receive any new admissions for an indefinite period to prevent more infections.

The hospital in Itabashi Ward, Tokyo, said 53 inpatients have been infected, seven more than the 46 already announced. The hospital is currently looking into the cause of the deaths to determine whether Acinetobacter was to blame.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government said Wednesday that a 76-year-old man who died of pneumonia in June at Tokyo Metropolitan Geriatric Hospital, also in Itabashi Ward, after being transferred in February from Teikyo University Hospital, was infected, and that two others at the Metropolitan Geriatric Hospital were also infected.

The superbug appeared to be spreading rapidly in Tokyo as another medical facility — Yurin Hospital in Setagaya Ward — discovered that eight inpatients aged 59 to 100 were infected with Acinetobacter, four of whom died.

Metro health officials inspected Yurin Hospital on Tuesday as two of the four deaths may be linked to the bacteria and planned to inspect Metropolitan Geriatric Hospital possibly Wednesday afternoon.

The Metropolitan Police Department was likewise planning to question doctors at both hospitals to determine if there were any flaws in the way they dealt with the superbug.

Teikyo University Hospital, where its Acinetobacter infections first came to light on Sept. 3, said 27 of the 46 infected patients died and in-hospital infections could be the cause for nine of the 27 deaths.

The hospital said Wednesday it wouldn’t take any new admissions or ambulance requests for an indefinite period and carry out bacteria checks on more than 800 patients currently in the hospital.

It also said it will set up a panel of outside experts to investigate the matter, clarify who is most responsible, and discuss prevention measures. The results are to be announced in about a month.

A recent Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry study showed the 53 Acinetobacter infections at Teikyo University Hospital over the period of about one year is roughly 1.5 to 1.6 times as many as the annual number of infections nationwide.

Thirty-five infections were reported in 2008, while 32 were reported the following year.

The study plays up the importance of prevention and control measures against in-hospital infections.

The ministry suspects the hospital’s delay in reporting the infection helped cause it to spread.

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