A Catalog of Common Bacterial and Viral Infections Contracted in Hospitals (Part 1)

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 21-Nov-2017

Ironically, one of the places where you’re most likely to get sick is in a hospital, a place intended to make you well. Hospitals and other medical facilities are notorious for the presence of disease-causing bacteria and viruses. Sometimes these infections occur simply because more sick people are gathered in one place, or because hospital patients often have suppressed immune systems. Occasionally the risks are amplified when hospital staff neglect to take basic precautions, which you can read more about here. Let’s examine a few of the most common disease-causing germs you’re likely to encounter in medical facilities.

  • Influenza. The many types of flu are highly contagious (often airborne) and easy to spread, partly because they continue to mutate into new strains, and partly because a person can be contagious before showing any symptoms. Flu can also be deceptively serious, especially among those with weakened immune systems.
  • Norovirus. Often erroneously called “stomach flu,” norovirus isn’t a flu at all. Rather, it’s a common virus that causes gastroenteritis, with symptoms that include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Aside from the discomfort itself, dehydration remains one of the most significant risks of this disease as the body continually loses fluids.
  • Staphylococcus aureus. Nearly one-third of the population carries this bacteria without any symptoms, but when staph infections do occur, they can become severe if left untreated. When staph manifests, it’s usually in the form of a skin infection. One particular strain, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (or MRSA), can cause exceptional concern because it is highly resistant to antibiotics.
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae. Klebsiella is another type of bacteria most of us carry—in our digestive tracts, where they are harmless to us. Outside our guts, however, klebsiella is both antibiotic resistant and potentially dangerous, causing a number of possible ailments including urinary tract infections and pneumonia. Newborns are among the most susceptible to this bacterium.

If you or a loved one has contracted an illness due to negligence or malpractice, our Washington D.C. medical malpractice attorneys may be able to help. Call our offices to learn more.

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