At Encompass HealthCare, we treat serious infections with powerful antibiotics and advanced wound care.
We treat all kinds of infections, particularly, the more challenging infections from bacteria and germs that have become antibiotic resistant due to the overuse of antibiotics and those borne from inpatient hospital care.
To deal with these challenges in wound medicine effectively, it takes extensive training and a multi-disciplinary approach to wound care. That’s one of the reasons Dr. Bruce Ruben, Medical Director at Encompass HealthCare, became triple board certified in Infectious Disease, Internal Medicine and Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine.
Below are just some of the more serious infections we treat in our outpatient wound care center.
CLOSTRIDIUM DIFFICILE (AKA C. DIFFICILE, C-DIFF)
Clostridium difficile is a very serious bacterium that can cause symptoms from severe diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon.
C. difficile can occur in any population but is more common in older adults and usually presents after the use of antibiotic medications. According to the CDC, over 250,000 infections arise each year resulting in 14,000 deaths.
Those statistics are growing because C. difficile infections have become more frequent, severe and antibiotic resistant.
(from Antibiotics Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013)
CARBAPENEM-RESISTANT ENTEROBACTERIACEAE (CRE)
CRE are a family of germs that are hard to treat because they are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. Of the estimated 140,000 healthcare-associated enterobacteriaceae infections that occur in the United States, about 9,300 are caused by CRE and result in about 600 deaths.
CRE infections do not usually affect healthy people. But in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, CRE infections most commonly occur among patients whose care requires devices like breathing machines, urinary (bladder) catheters, or intravenous (vein) catheters. Patients who are taking long courses of certain antibiotics are most at risk for CRE infections.
METHICILLIN-RESISTANT STAPHYLOCOCCUS AUREUS (MRSA)
MRSA causes a range of illnesses from skin and wound infections to pneumonia and bloodstream infections that can cause sepsis and death. Staph bacteria including MRSA are one of the most common causes of healthcare-associated infections.
The CDC estimates 80,461 invasive MRSA infections and 11,285 related deaths occurred in 2011
VANCOMYCIN-RESISTANT ENTEROCOCCUS (VRE)
Enteroccocci are bacteria that are normally present in the human intestines and in the female genital tract and are often found in the environment. These bacteria can sometimes cause infections. Vancomycin is an antibiotic that is used to treat some drug-resistant infections caused by enterococci. In some instances, enterococci have become resistant to this drug and thus are called vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE).
Most VRE infections occur in hospitals.
The following persons are at increased risk becoming infected with VRE:
- People who have been previously treated with the antibiotic vancomycin or other antibiotics for long periods of time.
- People who are hospitalized, particularly when they receive antibiotic treatment for long periods of time.
- People with weakened immune systems such as patients in intensive care units, or in cancer or transplant wards.
- People who have undergone surgical procedures such as abdominal or chest surgery.
- People with medical devices that stay in for some time such as urinary catheters or central intravenous (IV) catheters.
- People who are colonized with VRE.
VRE is often passed from person to person by the contaminated hands of caregivers. VRE can get onto a caregiver’s hands after they have contact with other people with VRE or after contact with contaminated surfaces. VRE can also be spread directly to people after they touch surfaces that are contaminated with VRE. VRE is not spread through the air by coughing or sneezing.