Now, this will be really grand if it ever gets out into the general population like MRSA
Taiwan's indigenous super germ defies all antibiotics (updated AM 00:27)
The China Post staff
Shih Wen-yi, acting director of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), called for calm yesterday as people began to fear there is an indigenous super germ that defies any and all antibiotics.
Known as PDRAB, the super germ is all but indestructible. It may cause all kinds of complications, chiefly pneumonia.
PDRAB stands for pandrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii.
So far infection has been confined to hospitals, Shih said. Mostly, weakened in-patients, many of them recovering from surgery, have fallen victim.
Once infected, the victims often die simply because there are no antibiotics that could kill the PDRAB.
The CDC chief said all hospitals have been told to place a burgeoning PDRAB epidemic under control. Hospitals have to require doctors and nurses to disinfect their hands regularly to prevent bacterial transmission.
"Special care should be taken to help people who have only a low level of immunity," Shih cautioned.
The super germ was first reported by a Taiwan University Hospital contagious disease specialist two years ago.
Hsueh Po-jen reported the PDRAB in a 2002 issue of Emerging Infectious Disease, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Ga.
There were no records of PDRAB infection before 1998. In 2000, however, the PDRAB was found on 77 patients at the Taiwan University Hospital.
Currently, practically all large general hospitals have problems coping with PDRAB infection. The rate of infection is estimated at seven to eight per 1,000 in-patients.
One cause of the in-hospital PDRAB epidemic, paradoxically, is the nearly indiscriminate use of antibiotics.
The bacteria, exposed to so many antibiotics, have mutated and developed the strongest possible resistance to any of the medicine that was once believed to be a cure all.
Like Staphylococcus aureus, a genus of bacteria that cause pus formation in boils, the PDRAB is hydrophilous or requiring the presence of water for fertilization.
That is why the super germ often picks as its victim those post-surgery patients who still have catheters attached. The catheter is a slender tube, as of metal or rubber, inserted into a body passage, vessel, or cavity for passing fluids.
People should try not to make unnecessary hospital visits and wash their hands often to stay away from the PDRAB, doctors urged. The mortality rate is about 60 percent .