Why are patients isolated due to antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” even if they’re not sick?

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  • Clare Atzema says:

    I am often asked by patients who are colonized if they can hug their grandchildren, play with them as usual, etc., when they get out of hospital. What is the appropriate advice for these patients?

    • Paul Taylor says:

      These bugs don’t, in general, pose a risk to healthy people. And they don’t tend to spread from colonized individuals to others so long as proper hygiene practices are followed. That means routine cleaning of your bathroom, and hand washing after toileting.

      In the case of colonized hospital patients, some of them may have loose stools or they are incontinent or they’re coughing and sneezing. So they are potentially spreading the germs around. That is why extra-precautions are needed in the health-care setting.

      But if they are symptom free – and at home — proper cleaning and hand washing should be sufficient to keep the germs contained.


Paul Taylor


Paul Taylor is a health journalist and former Patient Navigation Advisor at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, where he provided advice and answered questions from patients and their families. Paul will continue to write occasional columns for Healthy Debate.

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