TOKYO, Sep. 8, 2010 (Kyodo News International) -- Teikyo University Hospital said Wednesday four more people have died among inpatients infected with Acinetobacter, an antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and it will not receive any new admissions for an indefinite period to prevent more infections.
The university hospital in Tokyo's Itabashi Ward said 53 inpatients have been infected -- seven more than 46 announced earlier -- and four of the seven inpatients have died.
The hospital is currently looking into the cause of the deaths, noting that there may be a correlation between the deaths and the infections.
Also on Wednesday, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said a 76-year-old man, who died of pneumonia in June at the Tokyo Metropolitan Geriatric Hospital also in Itabashi Ward after being transferred in February from the Teikyo hospital, was infected, adding that two others at the Metropolitan Geriatric Hospital were also infected.
The superbug seems to be spreading rapidly in Tokyo, as another hospital -- Yurin Hospital in Setagaya Ward -- discovered that eight of its male and female inpatients aged 59 to 100 were infected with Acinetobacter and four of them died.
Health officials from the Tokyo government inspected Yurin Hospital on Tuesday as two of the four deaths may be linked to the bacteria, while they also plan to carry out an inspection at the Metropolitan Geriatric Hospital as early as Wednesday afternoon.
Separately, the Metropolitan Police Department is also planning to question doctors at both hospitals to figure out if there were any flaws in the way they dealt with the superbug.
Teikyo University Hospital, where the first case of Acinetobacter in-hospital infection came to light last Friday, said 27 out of the 46 infected patients died and in-hospital infections could be the cause for nine out of the 27 deaths.
The hospital said Wednesday it will not take any new admissions or ambulance requests for an indefinite period and carry out bacteria checks on more than 800 patients who are currently in the hospital.
It also said it will set up a panel of experts from outside the hospital to investigate the spread, clarify who is most responsible, and discuss prevention measures. The results will be announced in about a month.
A recent Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry study has shown that the 53 Acinetobacter infections reported by Teikyo University Hospital in a period of about a year is roughly 1.5 to 1.6 times as many as the number of infections reported annually.
Thirty-five infections were reported in 2008, while 32 were reported the following year.
The study plays up the importance of prevention and control measures against in-hospital infections.
The ministry, which conducted an onsite inspection of Teikyo University Hospital on Monday, suspects that the hospital's delay in reporting the infection to central and local health authorities may have caused it to spread.