Multi-Drug Resistant Organism (MRDO) FAQ

Recently, Scott & White has detected an increased presence in Central Texas of a multi-drug resistant organism (MRDO) known as Carbapenem Resistant Gram Negative Rods (CR GNR). This is a strain of bacteria that can cause different types of health concerns, including pneumonia, bloodstream infections, wound or surgical site infections, and meningitis.

The infection can be pretty serious, but as of now, the public at large is not at risk. Cases of this bacterial infection have been reported nationally and internationally for several years. Scott & White has been tracking the organism since 2010, but a recent increase in the number of cases means there is a need to inform the public.

As a matter of routine, Scott & White keeps a careful watch on MRDOs like CR GNR and we’ve taken steps at our hospitals to minimize and contain the spread of the bacteria.

We feel it's important to inform our public about the steps we are taking to keep our patients safe. We also have tips on precautions you can take when you get home or return to work.

What is CR GNR and what does it do?

Carbapenem is a type of antibiotic used to fight infections. Gram negative rods are bacteria normally found in human intestines. Over time, thebacteria have develops a resistance to the antibiotics making it difficult to treat with antibiotics or other medications.  

If unchecked, the bacteria can cause serious damage, sometimes resulting in collapsed lungs and other serious health problems. Early signs include sudden high fever (over 103 degrees Fahrenheit), dizziness and chills.

How do you pick it up?

In health care settings, CR GNR infections commonly occur among sick patients who are receiving treatment for other conditions. Patients whose care requires devices like ventilators (breathing machines) or intravenous (vein) catheters, and patients who are taking long courses of certain antibiotics are most at risk for CR GNRinfections. The infection is found almost exclusively in elderly patients with multiple health issues.

Why do you think that’s happening?

The people who are most susceptible to the bacteria are those who are over 60 years of age, bed-ridden and have other health problems such as chronic wounds, kidney disease and diabetes. Patients within this population who are coming to Scott & White for treatment might be infected with the bacteria and not know it.

How are you responding? Are you screening every patient that might be in the suspected population?

Scott & White has a planned approach to screening future patients who present with some of the same co-morbidity conditions, patients who have been discharged from a hospital in the preceding 90 days, patients who have received a strong regimen of antibiotics in the preceding 90 days, as well as all ICU patients.

Any patient who tests positive for CR GNR bacteria can be isolated in a separate hospital area, and monitored closely by our staff who have been expertly-trained on  hand hygiene, personal protection equipment, contact precautions and environmental cleaning

Additional outreach education programs with area nursing homes are also being investigated as a precaution before a patient arrives at our hospital.

What can I do to prevent the bacteria from spreading?

You can help minimize some of the risk of spreading the bacteria by taking some of the same steps you’d take to avoid getting the flu or another infection:

  • Always be conscientious about hand washing. It’s a good to practice to wash your hands and use hand sanitizer often, especially when you are in the hospital.
  • If you are visiting a patient, be sure to check-in at the nurses’ station. The staff will provide any protective clothing that you must wear before entering the patient’s room.
  • Also, read the Contact Precautions sign posted outside the patient’s room and wash your hands with soap and water or use the waterless hand sanitizer when you go into the room and again as you prepare to leave the room. 
  • Keep your cuts and scrapes clean and cover them with bandages
  • Do not touch other people's cuts or bandages
  • Do not share personal items like towels or razors.

Thank you for helping Scott & White provide our patients and our community with the best possible health care environment!

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