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Risk of superbugs at an all-time high for patients without health insurance

Published on 19/09/2011

Patients without health insurance are more likely to develop an untreatable infection than ever, as numbers of antibiotic-resistant superbugs reach an all-time high in NHS hospitals.

According to the Health Protection Agency, nearly 400 cases of new super-resistant bacteria have been discovered just this year, compared to the handful of instances which were diagnosed before 2008.

The superbugs are strains of well-known bacteria which can cause serious illnesses like blood poisoning. Even carbapenems, strong antibiotics used as a last resort, will not be able to treat infected patients.

Out of the 386 new cases reported in 2011, 36 of these were of NDM-1, a superbug linked to the deaths of five patients in NHS hospitals last year.

But KPC, an antibiotic resistant pneumonia bacteria, is the biggest concern for NHS hospitals. In 2007 only one case of KPC was reported, but it now accounts for 259 of the new cases.

The World Health Organisation estimates that 25,000 deaths across Europe are caused by antibiotic-resistant infections. People most at risk are adults and children with weakened immune systems.

Professor Mike Sharland, a specialist in paediatric infectious diseases at St George’s Hospital in London, said: ‘This is a very worrying trend – resistance rates are going up rapidly.

‘We only have a handful of antibiotics in hospitals and there is a real need for new ones to be developed for people that do not respond to other treatments, or we could see an increase in mortality rates.’

People with private health insurance will be guaranteed treatment in a private hospital of their choice, dramatically reducing their risk of catching super-bugs like NDM-1 and KPC.

Compare health insurance quotes online with ActiveQuote now to make sure you avoid the risk of NDM-1 and KPC.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2011

Categories:  MedicalNHS and Hospitals
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