The number of antibiotic-resistant infections has tripled in Korea this year from a year earlier because of the health authorities’ lax watch, a lawmaker said Friday.
According to Rep. Jeon Jye-sook전혜숙 of the ruling Democratic Party, the number of infections with Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), an antibiotic-resistant virus, surged to 2,607 during the June-August period alone from 3,770 during the whole of last year.
The lawmaker said so based on data submitted for the parliamentary audit of the government offices, including the Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
The number of CRE infections has been increasing in recent years from 1,000 in 2012, and spiked since June this year as hospitals’ CRE infection reporting to the health authorities became mandatory under a revised law on infection control. As of June, CRE was classified as a Group III National Infectious Disease subject to the state’s watch given its possibility of becoming endemic.
Jeon said the government’s mandatory watch on CRE infections might have pushed up the number, but the latest increase was excessive. She urged the health authorities to conduct a detailed investigation.
The ruling party lawmaker also said the government should do more to curb quickly growing infections with other antibiotic-resistant viruses such as Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE) and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
The number of infections with VRE and MRSA, which are not designated as infectious diseases, grew more than 10-folds to 12,577 and 41,330 last year, respectively, compared with 2011, she said.
“The government’s watch is so poor that it cannot find out whether patients got CRE infections in intensive care units or general wards,” Jeon said. “To make matters worse, infections with VRE and MRSA are skyrocketing.”
The government should designate the two antibiotic-resistant infections as national infectious diseases and promptly start a mandatory watch on them, she added.
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