Researchers at the University of Minnesota are reporting a significant increase in the number of infections caused by an antibiotic-resistant strain of E. coli since 2008.
The study said that these infections were especially virulent in the elderly and in people living in nursing homes.. The "superbug," E. coli ST131, which was discovered in 2008, was responsible for 25 percent of the 299 infections in Olmstead County between February and March of 2011, the researchers reported. Similarly, the bug was responsible for three-quarters of infections in nursing home during the same time period.
"Folks in long-term care facilities receive a lot of antibiotics, which allows a bug like this to persist and flourish. In those facilities, the patients have close contact with one another. There's just a lot more opportunity for bugs like this to spread around," said study researcher James Johnson.
He added that several deaths had been attributed to ST131. This seems to signal that the strain is becoming more and more dangerous for healthcare facilities.