Several news reports in Malaysian newspapers and online portals points to the possible existence of super bug ‘Klebsiella pneumoniae’ in the country.
Kelantan health director Datuk Dr Ahmad Razin Ahmad Mahir said Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria was suspected to be the possible cause of death.
A string of infections, with one death, one patient in critical condition and 40 others from the same family quarantined at the Tanah Merah hospital, in Kelantan, has raised serious concerns among the local medical fraternity.
The death and infection occurred on Monday last, at a family gathering that left a government agency officer dead from the suspected pneumonia.
The Star newspaper reported that Dr Ahmad Razin said 36 others had been told to limit their movements as a precautionary measure.
They were all in Kajang for a Chinese New Year family reunion about two weeks ago before the 59-year-old Nasrudin Adam, who was a worker with the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda), fell sick.
Dr Ahmad Razin said initial investigations showed that the man died from suspected severe pneumonia.
Klebsiella bacteria is spread through the air and is found in the mouth, skin and intestines.
It can cause pneumonia if inhaled, as well as blood infections via open wounds and meningitis in patients with weakened immunity systems.
Early signs and symptoms include high fever, chills, flu-like symptoms, cough with yellow or bloody mucus and shortness of breath.
He said the case was not an epidemic.
On 13 January 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States issued a report on the case of a 70-year-old Nevada woman who died in September 2016 after developing a bacterial infection that was resistant to 26 different antibiotics.
The report said the Washoe County Health District in Reno, Nevada, was notified of a patient at an acute care hospital with carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) that was resistant to all available antimicrobial drugs.
The specific CRE, Klebsiella pneumoniae, was isolated from a wound specimen which was collected in August, 2016.
Antimicrobial susceptibility testing in the United States indicated that the isolate was resistant to 26 antibiotics, including all aminoglycosides and polymyxins tested, and intermediately resistant to tigecycline (a tetracycline derivative developed in response to emerging antibiotic resistance).