Superbugs prompt hospital screening in Greater Victoria

Victoria hospitals are following a province-wide protocol to screen for various superbugs; some patients will be isolated

The Vancouver Island Health Authority is on the lookout for an international superbug, screening patients who have been hospitalized abroad.

Both the Royal Jubilee and Victoria General hospitals are following a province-wide protocol to isolate patients for 48 hours if they have been hospitalized in countries like Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

Doctors are taking the safety measures to screen for various superbugs including New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase, or NDM-1, an enzyme that is resistant to almost all antibiotics, said Sara Plank, VIHA spokeswoman.

“We’ve seen two cases on the Island – one in October 2011 and one in September 2012,” Plank said.

Roughly 20 Island patients each week are screened for a gamut of illnesses based on how they answer an admission questionnaire.

“Anyone who has had medical care or been hospitalized in a high risk country is tested and isolated, pending a negative test result,” Plank said. “It is something we’re quite vigilant about.”

NDM-1 first surfaced internationally in 2008, and has been on the radar of Health Canada since 2010, when the first domestic cases were discovered.

Plank added most of the 45 positive cases in B.C. have been related to travel in high-risk countries, and cautioned the reported cases are not considered an outbreak.

For a list of active outbreaks in the Capital Region, visit or search “Active Outbreak List” on VIHA’s website.



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