A dangerous drug-resistant bacterium has reached Southern California healthcare facilities, according to a study released Thursday by Los Angeles County public health officials. Researchers found 356 cases of carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, or CRKP, at healthcare facilities in Los Angeles County, mostly among elderly patients, said author Dr. Dawn Terashita, a medical epidemiologist with the county Department of Public Health."We think that this is increasing," Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, the county?s public health chief, said of the infections. The county health department required facilities to report the infections starting June 1, 2010, and Terashita analyzed reports through Dec. 31, 2010, filed by 52 hospitals and a regional lab. She found 146 infections at eight long-term acute-care hospitals, including an outbreak at one hospital, she said. Another 20 cases were reported at nursing homes and the remainder at short-term acute-care hospitals.