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Deadly superbug loose at Maryland research hospital claims another victim

A deadly and virtually untreatable disease that is lurking within the confines of a Maryland hospital, has claimed another victim. An outbreak of an antibiotic-resistant strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae or KPC, reportedly started at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center last summer when a patient who was purportedly a carrier of the disease was treated there.

Since then, there have been 19 cases of the disease which includes seven deaths. The 7th and latest victim to die is reported to be a boy from Minnesota who went to the institute to be treated for complications from a bone marrow transplant. The weakened state of the boy's immune system likely contributed to him contracting the disease.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, KPC is caused by the bacteria Klebsiella. The bacteria can cause different types of healthcare-associated infections, including pneumonia, bloodstream infections, wound or surgical site infections, and meningitis.

Though the disease is a common infection that happens in hospital settings, the less common antibiotic-resistant strain appears to be on the rise.

Previously, officials at the world-renowned research hospital thought that they had eradicated the bug from the hospital. After a quarantine of patients and other methods proved futile, researchers finally located the bacteria living inside of sink drains and in a ventilator that had already been cleaned with bleach.

Although this is the first case of KPC at the research institute since January, it is now apparent that the bug remains hidden somewhere inside the hospital.