Finding Pneumo: A Superbug Story - Jay Vornhagen, University of Michigan
Superbugs, specifically carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), have been categorized as an urgent threat to the United States by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many CRE infections occur in long-term healthcare facilities and hospitals. Klebsiella pneumoniae is an important member of the Enterobacteriaceae family and is a leading cause of CRE infections and healthcare-associated infections. These infections have staggeringly high mortality rates (>50%) and substantially increased medical expenses (>$40K/occurrence). As our repertoire of therapies wanes, it is critical that novel intervention strategies are discovered to prevent and treat these serious infections. A promising avenue for the development of novel interventions is the study of the determinants of infection in the clinical setting. One in four patients that enter the ICU are colonized by K. pneumoniae, and a large subset of these patients acquire an infection with their colonizing strains. We use an interdisciplinary translational science approach to leverage patient health information and clinical microbiology to develop clinical models that predict K. pneumoniae infection. Using these models, we aim to identify at-risk patients prior to acquiring infection. Come for the translational science, stay for the bad jokes and stories about human waste and Alexander Fleming!