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Genesee County Health Department warns of drug resistant bacteria

The Genesee County Health Department is informing residents of a multi-drug resistant, respiratory infection-causing bacterium known as Stenotrophomonas maltophilia. (Photo: Thomas Hooten CDC)

GENESEE COUNTY, Mich. - The Genesee County Health Department is informing residents of a multi-drug resistant, respiratory infection-causing bacterium known as Stenotrophomonas maltophilia.

According to the health department, an increased interest has prompted them to keep everyone informed about this bacterium.

Calls to the department to determine where the increased interest in the infection originated were not immediately returned.

Transmission of S. maltophilia to susceptible individuals can happen through direct contact from several sources.

Those at increased risk of infection include persons with cancer, cystic fibrosis, HIV, neutropenia, recent surgery or trauma, mechanical ventilation, previous therapy with broad-spectrum antibiotics, and prolonged hospitalization (especially in intensive care units).

The bacterium is generally not considered dangerous for healthy individuals and usually infects those who are critically ill or immuno-compromised.

While S. maltophilia is a rare cause of infection, it is becoming more common among hospitalized individuals with weakened immune systems.

As most S. maltophilia infections involve the respiratory tract, symptoms often include a cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain when breathing or coughing.

People with any of the symptoms mentioned above should contact their healthcare provider.

A Stenotrophomonas fact sheet is posted on the GCHD website.

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