Doctor may have passed killer bug to patients

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The Independent Online
A DEADLY microbial infection may have been passed to two patients at a Gloucestershire hospital by a member of staff, health officials said yesterday, writes Liz Hunt.

An investigation at Stroud General Hospital, where two patients developed a gangrene-like illness after surgery, has concluded that they may have become infected by a member of staff who was a carrier of the Group A beta- haemolytic streptococcus.

Up to one in 10 people carry the bacterium in their throat and nasal passage and suffer no ill effects. But if it gets into a surgical wound or injury, it can cause necrotising fasciitis in which skin, muscle, and fat tissues are 'liquefied'. The report published yesterday by the Severn NHS Trust also raises the possibility that the patients may have been carriers but that the antibiotic therapy they underwent made this hard to confirm.

The unofficial death toll rose to 13 with a report of an 85-year-old woman from Bridgend who died this month. There was another report of a 71-year-old woman who died in March in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Leading article, page 10

What's bugging us?, page 25

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