Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Avoid Royal Hospital - reports of drug resistant bug outbreak

Rumours flying at the moment - especially in the Arabic Omani blogosphere - about an outbreak of drug resistant bacteria at Royal Hospital. Several ICU units have been closed. Unhelpfully, the authorities are maintaining that the closures are just for regular maintenance, and there's no official statement I've seen on the bug thing.

The best info I have indicates its a relatively minor attack of Drug-resistant Acinetobacter. You can find out all about it here at the excellent US Government Center for Disease Control or CDC.
Outbreaks of Acinetobacter infections typically occur in intensive care units and healthcare settings housing very ill patients. Acinetobacter infections rarely occur outside of healthcare settings.
According to the experts, as with the super-bug MRSA, its therefore in theory not a huge issue for 'normally healthy adults'. But of course it is a big issue for the immuno-compromised, people with open wounds, lung disease, the very young and very old, and diabetics. Unfortunately, that's a list of conditions that includes large numbers of people, especially in a hospital.

This would, of course, not be the first time. There was an outbreak at Royal reported in the Saudi Medical Journal in 2004, July V25(7):page 961-3: 'Outbreak of multidrug resistant Acinetobacter in the neonatal intensive care unit.' By Manzar S.
Department of Child Health, Royal Hospital, PO Box 1331, Postal Code 111, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. I'm sure our hospitals get super-bug outbreaks all the time. Its one of the reasons I like to stay away from hospitals - they are not healthy places!

Attempts to not talk about super-bug outbreaks in hospitals is also far from restricted to Oman. You'll read lots on the net about the same suppression of the truth about infection outbreaks in the UK and USA too. In fact, the whole super-bug thing can make some pretty scary reading. Last year it was reported that more people died of MRSA in the USA than of AIDS...

See google for more, if you want. Look up MRSA and Acinetobacter.

And wash your hands please.


  1. *Urgh, tried to reply to this post two times earlier today but had problems with the Internat and/or Blogger*.

    ANYWAY, just wanted to say that the Omani Arabic newspaper Al Shabeeba got a response from a source in Royal Hospital a couple of days ago who said that this was just a rumour. Link to article can be found here, but you'll need to use Google Translate to read it in English.

    Some people posting on Arabic Omani forums are saying that this is Acinetobacter.

  2. I am going to fuel this "rumour" even more ..

    apparently, its just Royal Hospital. Other hospitals also have this thing.

    Again, i dont how true this info is ... but usually there is no smoke without a fire ..

  3. forgot the "not"
    not only royal hospital ..

  4. The real problem is this tendency for the authorities to deny any problem, and as a result, people don't believe them.

    In this case, again (see next post) we see the spin that everything is OK. When, actually, there IS a real issue, and the rumors of an outbreak of Acinetobacter at Royal ICU were apparently true.

    A far better approach would be for the authorities to use this as an opportunity to actually tell people the truth, what the risks are, what they are doing about it, and what people themselves can do to help deal with this growing world wide problem.

    Instead we get the usual and patronising 'all is perfect and normal' (and only because the rumors reached fever pitch it seems), which makes one worry that a similar culture of ignoring the problem may be in the hospital too....


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