Antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in CRMC patient

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (KGWN) A patient at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center is carrying what doctors are calling a “rare antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection.”

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According to the Wyoming Department of Health, a recent test showed the organism infecting the patient, an enterobacteriaceae, also included a rare antibiotic-resistant gene known as MCR-1. WDH says the infection likely was not acquired at the hospital.

Dr. HooFeng Choo, CRMC’s infectious disease specialist, said “Thankfully, the patient continues to receive care, has responded to treatment and is in good condition.”

This type of infection is quite rare and potentially serious. Dr. Alexia Harrist,the state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH, said. “When bacteria become antibiotic-resistant, then certain categories of antibiotic medicines will not work to kill the bacteria to treat an infection.

“In this case,” Dr. Harrist said, “the organism found is resistant to a category of antibiotics sometimes described as ‘last resort’ medications used to fight infections. The gene found with this patient has been identified in only a handful of states over the past few years.

Contact precautions are now in place, meaning anyone entering the patient’s room is required to wear protective gloves and clothing and to follow strict handwashing practices.

Dr. Harris said the hospital is working hard to prevent the spread of the bacteria, saying hospital staff is being extra cautious.

“Together with hospital staff, we will review potential exposures to the organism and work to test anyone found to be at risk,” Dr. Harris said. “While antibiotic resistance is a growing overall problem for public health, there should be no concern for local residents because of this incident.”

Testing performed at the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory, part of WDH, helped identify the nature of the infection, which was confirmed by a federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention network laboratory.