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DocWatch
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News stories about "superbugs," with punchlines: http://apocadocs.com/d.pl?superbugs
Related Scary Tags:
antibiotic resistance  ~ pandemic  ~ corporate farming  ~ contamination  ~ weakened immunity  ~ unintended consequences  ~ health impacts  ~ smart policy  ~ ecosystem interrelationships  ~ massive die-off  ~ toxic sludge  



Fri, Dec 5, 2014
from Salon:
The post-antibiotic future is here: Chilling report highlights the reality of a global crisis
In India, that future is already here. The New York Times has a distressing report on the epidemic of antibiotic resistant "superbugs" killing the country's newborns by the tens of thousands: "Five years ago, we almost never saw these kinds of infections," said Dr. Neelam Kler, chairwoman of the department of neonatology at New Delhi's Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, one of India's most prestigious private hospitals. "Now, close to 100 percent of the babies referred to us have multidrug resistant infections. It's scary." These babies are part of a disquieting outbreak. A growing chorus of researchers say the evidence is now overwhelming that a significant share of the bacteria present in India -- in its water, sewage, animals, soil and even its mothers -- are immune to nearly all antibiotics. ...


We can't even call them "anti"biotics anymore!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Jun 20, 2014
from AP, via HuffingtonPost:
Ebola In West Africa Is 'Totally Out Of Control,' Doctors Without Borders Says
The Ebola outbreak ravaging West Africa is "totally out of control," according to a senior official for Doctors Without Borders, who says the medical group is stretched to the limit in its capacity to respond. The current outbreak has caused more deaths than any other on record, said another official with the medical charity. Ebola has been linked to more than 330 deaths in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, according to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization.... "The reality is clear that the epidemic is now in a second wave," Janssens said. "And, for me, it is totally out of control." The outbreak, which began in Guinea either late last year or early this year, had appeared to slow before picking up pace again in recent weeks, including spreading to the Liberian capital for the first time. ...


I yearn for "Diseases With Borders."

ApocaDoc
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Thu, May 22, 2014
from American Society for Microbiology:
Harmful bacteria can linger on airplane seat-back pockets, armrests for days
Disease-causing bacteria can linger on surfaces commonly found in airplane cabins for days, even up to a week, according to research. In order for disease-causing bacteria to be transmitted from a cabin surface to a person, it must survive the environmental conditions in the airplane. In this study, MRSA lasted longest (168 hours) on material from the seat-back pocket while E. coli O157:H7 survived longest (96 hours) on the material from the armrest. ...


Fly the plague-filled skies.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Apr 18, 2013
from Eurekalert:
Despite superbug crisis, progress in antibiotic development 'alarmingly elusive'
Despite the desperate need for new antibiotics to combat increasingly deadly resistant bacteria, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved only one new systemic antibiotic since the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) launched its 10 x '20 Initiative in 2010 -- and that drug was approved two and a half years ago. In a new report, published online today in Clinical Infectious Diseases, IDSA identified only seven new drugs in development for the treatment of infections caused by multidrug-resistant gram-negative bacilli (GNB) bacteria. GNB, which include the "nightmare bacteria" to which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) alerted the public in its March 2013 Vital Signs report, represent the most pressing medical need. Importantly, there is no guarantee that any of the drugs currently in development to treat GNB will make it across the finish line to FDA approval and none of them will work against the most resistant bugs we're worried about today. ...


There are alternatives.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Mar 12, 2013
from Guardian:
New wave of 'superbugs' poses dire threat, says chief medical officer
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria with the potential to cause untreatable infections pose "a catastrophic threat" to the population, England's chief medical officer warns in a report calling for urgent action worldwide. If tough measures are not taken to restrict the use of antibiotics and no new ones are discovered, said Dame Sally Davies, "we will find ourselves in a health system not dissimilar to the early 19th century at some point". While antibiotics are failing, new bacterial diseases are on the rise. Although the "superbugs" MRSA and C difficile have been reduced to low numbers in hospitals, there has been an alarming increase in other types of bacteria including new strains of E coli and Klebsiella, which causes pneumonia. ...


Bleede him! Those humours are out of alliance! Spleen is being o'erwrought by Bile!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Feb 12, 2013
from ScienceDaily:
TB Infection Rates Set to 'Turn Clock Back to 1930s'
During the 1930s, dedicated sanitaria and invasive surgery were commonly prescribed for those with the infection -- usually caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which the editors describe as "the most successful human pathogen of all time."... The infection is developing increasing resistance around the world to the powerful drugs currently used to treat it.... "It shows every sign of weathering the storm and superb randomised controlled trials, to emerge in ever-increasingly drug-resistant forms, potentially turning the clock back to the 1930s," they say. ...


I hear that the 30's had a great Depression!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Dec 31, 2012
from UPI:
MRSA detected in milk samples in Britain
A strain of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus was found in British milk, indicating the superbug is spreading in livestock, researchers say. Mark Holmes of the department of veterinary medicine at Cambridge University, who first identified MRSA in milk in 2011, said the latest finding of a different strain -- MRSA ST398 in seven samples of bulk milk from five British farms -- was a concern. ...


Apocalypse cow!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Nov 7, 2012
from Baltimore Sun:
'Superbug' found in US wastewater treatment plants
Hospitals aren't the only places where people can pick up a nasty "superbug." A University of Maryland-led team of researchers has found methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, at sewage treatment plants in the mid-Atlantic and the Midwest.... The study found MRSA in 83 percent of the raw sewage entering the plants, but the incidence declined as the sewage progressed through the treatment process. Only one plant still had the bacteria in its fully treated water, researchers found, and that facility did not regularly use chlorination to finish disinfecting its wastewater. MRSA is a well-known problem in hospitals, where patients have picked up potentially fatal bacterial infections that do not respond to antibiotic treatment. But since the late 1990s, it's also been showing up in otherwise healthy people outside of health-care facilities, prompting a search for sources in the wider community. ...


But I thought... when you flushed... it just went away!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Aug 29, 2011
from Telegraph.co.uk:
UN warns of bird flu resurgence
The United Nations has warned of a possible major resurgence of bird flu and said a mutant strain of the H5N1 virus was spreading in Asia and elsewhere. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on Monday urged increased surveillance and preparation for a potential outbreak of the virus, which it says has infected 565 people since it first appeared in 2003, killing 331 of them. The virus was eliminated from most of the 63 countries infected at its peak in 2006 after mass poultry culling, but since 2008 it has been expanding geographically in both poultry and wild birds, partly due to migration patterns, the FAO said.... He said the appearance of a variant strain of the virus in China and Vietnam was a concern, because it appeared to be able to sidestep the defences of existing vaccines. ...


If we'd just get rid of all the birds, this wouldn't be a problem.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, May 31, 2011
from Huffington Post:
NDM-1 Superbug Acquired In Canada
Canadian researchers have identified what appears to be the first domestically acquired case of an NDM-1 superbug. An 86-year-old Ontario man was found to be carrying bacteria resistant to most antibiotics because of NDM-1, or New Delhi metallo-1, an enzyme that alters the DNA of various types of bacteria. NDM-1 is endemic in India and Pakistan and has spread worldwide due to global travel. But the patient, who was admitted to hospital and then a rehabilitation centre after suffering a stroke last October, had not travelled outside southwestern Ontario for the last decade. None of the man's family members or other close contacts were carrying the superbug, nor had any been to parts of the world where NDM-1 is widespread. ...


When did E. coli steal our genetic modification technologies??

ApocaDoc
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Wed, May 25, 2011
from NRDC:
NRDC et al. Files Lawsuit to Preserve Antibiotics for Sick People, Not Already-Healthy Livestock
Today NRDC and our allies filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration to finally end the use of antibiotics in animal feed--a practice that's contributing to the rise in drug-resistant superbugs and endangering the health of our families. Roughly 70 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States are given to healthy farm animals to promote faster growth and compensate for unsanitary conditions. These cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys receive doses too low to actually treat disease, but high enough to allow bacteria resistant to antibiotic treatment to survive and thrive. Those bacteria don't stay on the farm. They spread to humans and can lead to superbugs that are difficult or impossible to cure. Last month, for instance, 55,000 pounds of frozen raw turkey burgers had to be recalled because of a salmonella strain the Centers for Disease Control said is immune to commonly prescribed antibiotics.... This lawsuit will have no bearing on the use of antibiotics for treating sick animals. We simply want to end the practice of giving these critical disease fighters to healthy livestock when it's not medically necessary. ...


I suppose that means we can't keep our cows locked knee-deep in manure any more. What about the economy?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, May 25, 2011
from PhysOrg:
Germany 'really worried' by E. coli outbreak
Germany's consumer minister expressed deep concern Wednesday at an outbreak of poisoning by dangerous bacteria believed to have killed three women and left hundreds ill. "This is really worrying," Ilse Aigner said on ARD public television. "We do not know what is the source (of the poisoning) and we cannot rule out there will be more cases." According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany's national disease agency, more than 80 people have become seriously ill in the past two weeks after ingesting enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC). Across Germany, mostly in the north, there are hundreds of other suspected cases, including some 200 in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, 100 in Lower Saxony, and in Hamburg close to 50.... RKI head Burger on Tuesday called the recent number of recorded cases "scarily high". Normally in a year there are around 1,000 EHEC infections and some 60 cases of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), a life-threatening disease caused by EHEC infection. According to the World Health Organization, HUS is characterised by acute renal failure and blood problems, with a fatality rate of between three and five percent. It can also cause seizures, strokes and coma. ...


Diese E. coli ist super gruselig.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, May 11, 2011
from Huffington Post:
Bedbugs With Drug-Resistant MRSA 'Superbug' Germ Found
Researchers are reporting an alarming combination: bedbugs carrying "superbug" germs. Canadian scientists detected drug-resistant MRSA bacteria in bedbugs from three hospital patients from a downtrodden Vancouver neighborhood. Bedbugs have not been known to spread disease, and there's no clear evidence that the five bedbugs found on the patients or their belongings had spread MRSA or a second less dangerous drug-resistant germ. However, bedbugs can cause itching that can lead to excessive scratching. That can cause breaks in the skin that make people more susceptible to these bacteria, noted Dr. Marc Romney, one of the study's authors. The study is small and very preliminary, "But it's an intriguing finding" that needs to be further researched, said Romney, medical microbiologist at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver. ...


Next up: Hemorrhagic fever transmitted by fleas.

ApocaDoc
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Want more context?
Try reading our book FREE online:
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More fun than a barrel of jellyfish!
Tue, Nov 2, 2010
from Washington Post:
Meat industry unhappy over limiting the use of antibiotics
For decades, factory farms have used antibiotics even in healthy animals to promote faster growth and prevent diseases that could sicken livestock held in confined quarters. The benefit: cheaper, more plentiful meat for consumers. But a firestorm has erupted over a federal proposal recommending antibiotics only when animals are actually sick. Medical and public health experts in recent years say overuse and misuse of antibiotics pose a serious public health threat by creating new strains of bacteria that are difficult to treat - both in animals and humans. "Over time, we have created some monster bugs," said Russ Kremer, a Bonnots Mill, Mo., farmer who speaks nationally about the threat to the food supply. "It is truly harmful to everyone to feed antibiotics to animals just for growth promotion and economic gain." ...


Broad-spectrum antibiotics are just like vitamins for meat animals, right? What's the harm?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Sep 14, 2010
from PhysOrg:
'Time bomb' superbug requires global response: doctor
A new superbug from India thought to be resistant to nearly every known antibiotic poses a global threat, scientists warned Monday, urging health authorities to track the bacteria. "There is an urgent need, first, to put in place an international surveillance system over the coming months and, second, to test all the patients admitted to any given health system" in as many countries as possible, said Patrice Nordmann of France's Bicetre Hospital. "For the moment, we don't know how fast this phenomenon is spreading... it could take months or years, but what is certain is that is will spread," he told AFP.... The NDM-1 is a gene that produces an enzyme that deactivate basically all antibiotics.... For example, scientists have determined that the NDM gene "is very mobile, hopping from one bacteria to another," he said. ...


This Superbug can hop tall bacteria with a single bound!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Aug 12, 2010
from Agence France-Press:
New superbugs spreading from South Asia: study
Plastic surgery patients have carried a new class of superbugs resistant to almost all antibiotics from South Asia to Britain and they could spread worldwide, researchers reported Wednesday. Many hospital infections that were already difficult to treat have become even more impervious to drugs thanks to a recently discovered gene that can jump across different species of bacteria. This so-called NDM-1 gene was first identified last year by Cardiff University's Timothy Walsh in two types of bacteria -- Klebsiella pneumoniae and Escherichia coli -- in a Swedish patient admitted to hospital in India. Worryingly, the new NDM-1 bacteria are resistant even to carbapenems, a group of antibiotics often reserved as a last resort for emergency treatment for multi-drug resistant bugs. ...


Nothing gets an ApocaDoc's blood racing like a new class of superbugs!

ApocaDoc
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Sun, May 16, 2010
from Reuters:
Faster, stronger, deadlier: the MRSA superbug
When she first described it in 1961, Patricia Jevons, a British bacteriologist, may have had a hard time imagining that the tiny bug she was staring at would soon become a penicillin-mocking juggernaut -- a superbug that kills an estimated 19,000 Americans a year and make millions more sick. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus -- or MRSA for short -- is the subject of journalist Maryn McKenna's new book Superbug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA (Free Press, March 2010)... But hospitals aren't the only breeding ground for MRSA: A strain known as community-MRSA has been around for years. Although there isn't sufficient surveillance, according to McKenna, one study estimated that seven million Americans make a trip to the doctor every year because of these bacteria. ...


A great summer read! except in the hospital and on the beach and ...

ApocaDoc
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Thu, May 13, 2010
from New Scientist:
Baby vaccine contaminated with pig virus
Swine viruses are back - but this time they don't seem to be making anyone sick. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reported that stocks of Merck's Rotateq vaccine against rotavirus are contaminated with the pig viruses PCV1 and PCV2. But the agency has not advised doctors to stop using it as the pig viruses aren't known to cause disease in humans, and rotavirus kills roughly half a million infants worldwide each year. An FDA advisory panel said the vaccine's benefits still outweigh its risks. The FDA plans to monitor recipients for pig virus-related illness. "There will be quite careful monitoring of the people that have received the vaccine and I think that's entirely appropriate," says virologist Stephen Hughes, who advised the FDA on the issue. Rotavirus vaccines are mainly given to infants in the developing world, where the virus is most likely to kill. ...


That way, when the pig virus mutates, these infants will be pre-vaccinated!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Mar 30, 2010
from Society for General Microbiology, via PhysOrg:
Possible 'superbug' status for sexually-transmitted infection
The rise of multidrug resistance in gonorrhoea-causing bacteria is threatening to make this sexually-transmitted infection extremely difficult to treat. Professor Catherine Ison, speaking at the Society for General Microbiology's spring meeting in Edinburgh, highlighted the very real possibility that strains of Neisseria gonorrhoeae resistant to all current treatment options could emerge in the near future.... "Choosing an effective antibiotic can be a challenge because the organism that causes gonorrhoea is very versatile and develops resistance to antibiotics very quickly," explained Professor Ison. "Penicillin was used for many years until it was no longer effective and a number of other agents have been used since. The current drugs of choice, ceftriaxone and cefixime, are still very effective but there are signs that resistance particularly to cefixime is emerging and soon these drugs may not be a good choice," she said. ...


Resistance is the sound of one bacterium clapping.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Jan 16, 2010
from BioMed Central via ScienceDaily:
Polar Bear Droppings Advance Superbug Debate
Scientists investigating the spread of antibiotic-resistant superbugs have gone the extra mile for their research -- all the way to the Arctic. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Microbiology found little sign of the microbes in the droppings of polar bears that have had limited or no contact with humans, suggesting that the spread of antibiotic resistance genes seen in other animals may be the result of human influence.... ...


Another reason to ensure polar bears' survival.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Jan 2, 2010
from Los Angeles Times:
Study bolsters concerns that disinfectants create superbugs
Disinfectants, be they hand sanitizers or industrial-strength cleaners, present a hospital's first blockade against bacterial infection. But this same weapon may be helping create stronger microbial enemies: superbugs that are resistant to disinfectants and commonly used antibiotics, scientists report in the January issue of the journal Microbiology.... If hospital workers do not use enough disinfectant for a long enough period of time to kill every last bacterium on a surface, they could be providing an ideal breeding ground for new superbugs, [National University of Ireland microbiologist Gerard] Fleming concluded. "Absolutely and certainly you must use disinfectant in hospital environments," he said. "The message, for heaven's sake, is use disinfectants properly." ...


Something tell me, no matter what... one mutant will survive!

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Jan 2, 2010
from Associated Press:
Solution to Killer Superbug Found in Norway
Aker University Hospital is a dingy place to heal. The floors are streaked and scratched. A light layer of dust coats the blood pressure monitors. A faint stench of urine and bleach wafts from a pile of soiled bedsheets dropped in a corner. Look closer, however, at a microscopic level, and this place is pristine. There is no sign of a dangerous and contagious staph infection that killed tens of thousands of patients in the most sophisticated hospitals of Europe, North America and Asia this year, soaring virtually unchecked. The reason: Norwegians stopped taking so many drugs. Twenty-five years ago, Norwegians were also losing their lives to this bacteria. But Norway's public health system fought back with an aggressive program that made it the most infection-free country in the world. A key part of that program was cutting back severely on the use of antibiotics. ...


Sounds like a good 2010 resolution for us all.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Dec 29, 2009
from Agence France-Presse:
Cleaning agents may help superbugs grow
Disinfectants commonly used in homes and medical facilities can boost the resistance of some bacteria to life-saving antibiotics, according to a study released on Monday. The findings shed light on how at least one pathogen - Pseudomonas aeruginosa - spreads, and could apply to other hospital superbugs as well, the authors say... In laboratory experiments, researchers showed that the bug can rapidly mutate, building resistance to progressively higher doses of a disinfectant known as BSK, or benzalkonium chloride. ...


Not that's ironic!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Sep 30, 2009
from TIME:
The Desperate Need for New Antibiotics
But now global health officials face an approaching crisis: the number of different antibiotics available to treat such infections when they do occur is dwindling because pharmaceutical companies have neglected to invest in the development of new types of drugs. Bacterial and parasitic diseases are the second-leading cause of death worldwide, according to a report on antibiotic research released Sept. 17 by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), with 175,000 deaths attributed to hospital-acquired infections each year in Europe alone. And due to the emergence of drug-resistant "superbugs," such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), traditional antibiotics such as Penicillin and its derivatives are becoming obsolete. New antibiotics are desperately needed, but the amount of money being spent on the research and development of these drugs is woefully inadequate. ...


Maybe it's time to start reasoning with those superbugs!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Sep 1, 2009
from Environmental Health Perspectives:
Swine CAFOs and Novel H1N1 Flu: Separating Facts from Fears
...one potential source of the original outbreak--swine farming in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs)--has received comparatively little attention by public health officials. CAFOs house animals by the thousands in crowded indoor facilities. But the same economy-of-scale efficiencies that allow CAFOs to produce affordable meat for so many consumers also facilitate the mutation of viral pathogens into novel strains that can be passed on to farm workers and veterinarians, according to Gregory Gray, director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.... Gray says workers exposed routinely to livestock can pass these zoonotic infections--which transmit readily among humans and animals--on to the wider public. However, public health agencies that monitor risks from zoonotic infections routinely overlook CAFO workers, according to Ellen Silbergeld, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. ...


Fast food... could kill us fast!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Aug 21, 2009
from The Canadian Press:
Soldiers returning from Afghanistan bringing home superbug
MONTREAL Canadian soldiers are bringing home from dusty Afghanistan a powerful, drug-resistant superbug that health officials have been worrying about for several years. Three Canadian soldiers who recently returned from Kandahar carrying so-called "Iraqibacter" are under quarantine at a civilian hospital in Quebec City. Two civilian patients who came in close contact with the soldiers at Hopital de l'Enfant-Jesus have also been isolated for fear they may have contracted the superbug officially named Acinetobacter baumannii. The hospital-acquired germ, commonly found in soil and water, strikes weakened immune systems, especially in those recovering from wounds. It has been known to cause conditions such as pneumonia, meningitis as well as blood, urinary tract and wound infections. ...


I wonder if that gets added to your bill...

ApocaDoc
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You're still reading! Good for you!
You really should read our short, funny, frightening book FREE online (or buy a print copy):
Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
We've been quipping this stuff for more than 30 months! Every day!
Which might explain why we don't get invited to parties anymore.
Mon, Aug 10, 2009
from American Thoracic Society, via EurekAlert:
Misuse of common antibiotic is creating resistant TB
Use of a common antibiotic may be undercutting its utility as a first-line defense against drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB). Fluoroquinolones are the most commonly prescribed class of antibiotics in the U.S. and are used to fight a number of different infections such as sinusitis and pneumonia. They are also an effective first line of defense against TB infections that show drug resistance. New research shows, however, that widespread general use of fluoroquinolones may be creating a strain of fluoroquinolone-resistant TB.... Overall, patients who had used fluoroquinolones within 12 months of diagnosis were almost five times as likely to have a fluoroquinolone-resistant strain of TB than those who had not used fluoroquinolones, and there was a linear association between length of fluoroquinolone use and fluoroquinolone resistance. ...


Do we always have to come out with the big guns blazing, no matter the adversary?

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Aug 9, 2009
from London Daily Telegraph:
A new superbug found in Britain is major concern: Government scientists
A new superbug that is resistant to all antibiotics has been brought into Britain by patients having surgery abroad, Government scientists said. Doctors are urged to be vigilent for a new bug that has arriving in Britain with patients who have travelled to India and Pakistan for cosmetic surgery or organ transplants and is now circulating here. So far there have been 22 cases in 17 hospitals Britain and the Health Protection Agency has said its emergence here is a 'major concern'... It is of particular concern because it can jump from one strain of bacteria to another meaning it could attach itself to more dangerous infections that can cause severe illnesses and blood poisoning making them almost impossible to treat. ...


That makes us sort of like airplanes for superbugs.

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Fri, Jul 10, 2009
from BBC:
Concern over Ebola virus in pigs
A form of Ebola virus has been detected in pigs for the first time, raising concerns it could mutate and pose a new risk to humans. Ebola-Reston virus (REBOV) has only previously been seen in monkeys and humans -- and has not caused illness. But researchers are concerned that pigs might provide a melting pot where the virus could mutate into something more menacing for humans.... "REBOV infection in domestic swine raises concern about the potential for emerging disease in humans and a wider range of livestock. "There is concern that its passage through swine may allow REBOV to diverge and shift its potential for pathogenicity." ...


That would make H1N1 look like... well, a couple of letters and numbers.

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Thu, Jun 4, 2009
from Queen:
1 in 4 nursing home residents carry MRSA
Its authors say that the findings, which have been published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, highlight the need for infection control strategies to be given a higher priority in nursing homes. The study, thought to be the largest of its kind studying MRSA in private nursing homes in the UK, took nose swabs from 1,111 residents and 553 staff in 45 nursing homes in the former Northern Board area of Northern Ireland. Twenty-four per cent of residents and 7 per cent of staff were found to be colonised with MRSA, meaning they were carrying the bacteria but not necessarily showing signs of infection or illness. Residents in 42 of the homes were colonised with MRSA, with recorded rates in individual nursing homes ranging from zero to 73 per cent. Staff in 28 of the homes carried the bacteria with prevalence rates ranging from zero to 28 per cent. ...


Does that mean Great-Grandma will get even fewer visitors?

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Thu, May 14, 2009
from Edinburgh Scotsman:
Hospital closes wards after superbug deaths
A SCOTTISH health board was accused last night of covering up an outbreak of a potentially fatal hospital superbug that has been linked to the deaths of two patients. A total of 14 patients at Dr Gray's Hospital in Elgin, Moray, have been diagnosed as suffering from Clostridium difficile since the beginning of April. One frail elderly patient died at the hospital last month as a direct result of contracting the infection and C diff has been listed as a contributory cause in the death of another patient who also died in April. ...


Great! This takes my mind off swine flu!

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Sun, Apr 19, 2009
from Chapel Hill News:
Biosolids concerns bubble to surface
Nancy Holt bulldozed trees and blocked the path to the creek behind her house after her grandson and his friend went wading in the water and got staph infections. Myra Dotson developed red bumps on her knees and forearms after gardening. When they became infected, a doctor diagnosed her with MRSA, the antibiotic-resistant "super bug." Both women blame the infections on sewage sludge applied on nearby fields. Now an advisory board's concerns are raising questions the county had hoped to begin answering two years ago. ...


This is tantamount to pissing in the wind.

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Thu, Apr 16, 2009
from Environmental Health News:
Sewage plants could be creating 'super' bacteria
A wastewater treatment plant's job description is pretty straightforward: Remove contaminants from sewage so it can be returned to the environment without harming people or wildlife. But a new study suggests that the treatment process can have an unintended consequence of promoting the spread of extra-hardy bacteria. Some bugs are resistant to antibiotics, so they dodge the medical bullets that wipe out others. The more drugs that are used, the more robust they become. Since bacteria reproduce quickly -- one organism might turn into a billion overnight -- and they share DNA with others, antibiotic-resistant genes spread like Darwinian wildfire when conditions are right. And at sewage treatment plants, it seems, the conditions are right... ...


Sounds like my email inbox.

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Tue, Mar 31, 2009
from Minneapolis MinnPost:
There ain't no bugs in me: Anti-antibiotics bill irks agribusiness
Are pigs hogging all the good antibiotics? A bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives assumes so, and it aims to control the overuse of the drugs in livestock and poultry production. Penicillin, tetracycline and other antimicrobials that doctors prescribe for our strep throats are also used in factory farming. The drugs are mixed with animal feed at CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations), where a crowded environment can lead to petri dish-like conditions for bacteria. Antibiotics also help animals grow faster. And as we learned in high-school science class from Mrs. Phelps, the more bacteria are exposed to antibiotics, the more resistant some of them (sometimes called "superbugs") get. ...


Chances are... if it irks agribusiness, it's probably good for regular folks!

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Thu, Mar 19, 2009
from SHEA, via EurekAlert:
Study finds extensive patient sharing among hospitals; could impact spread of infectious diseases
"We were surprised to find extensive interlinking of all the hospitals included in the study," said Susan S. Huang, MD, MPH, assistant professor and hospital epidemiologist, University of California Irvine School of Medicine and SHEA member. "The level of patient sharing among hospitals is grossly underestimated because patients often don't transfer directly between hospitals."... A large number of people (22 percent) who are discharged from acute care facilities are readmitted elsewhere within one year.... This research is particularly important for infectious agents with a substantial incubation period or prolonged carrier state such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), since patients may not exhibit symptoms of these diseases until after they have been discharged from a hospital stay. ...


Sharing is a bad thing? That's not what my Mom taught me.

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Tue, Mar 17, 2009
from BBC:
Biochar: Is the hype justified?
Green guru James Lovelock claims that the only hope of mitigating catastrophic climate change is through biochar -- biomass "cooked" by pyrolysis. It produces gas for energy generation, and charcoal -- a stable form of carbon. The charcoal is then buried in the ground, making the process "carbon negative". Researchers say biochar can also improve farm productivity and cut demand for carbon-intensive fertilisers. There's a flurry of worldwide interest in the technology, but is the hype justified?...Proponents of the technology say it is so effective at storing carbon that it should be included in the next global climate agreement. ...


If the Gaia guy likes it, it's worth a shot!

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Tue, Mar 17, 2009
from Reuters Health:
Flies plus chicken droppings spread "superbugs"
Flies, already blamed for spreading disease, may help spread drug-resistant superbugs from chicken droppings, researchers reported on Monday. They matched antibiotic-resistant enterococci and staphylococci bacteria from houseflies and the litter found in intensive poultry-farming barns in the Delmarva Peninsula region of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. The findings, reported in the journal Science of the Total Environment, may help explain some of the spread of drug-resistant bacteria. "Flies are well-known vectors of disease and have been implicated in the spread of various viral and bacterial infections affecting humans, including enteric fever, cholera, salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis and shigellosis," said Jay Graham of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, who led the research. ...


Flies: the new scapegoat.

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Sat, Mar 7, 2009
from CNET News:
Cell phones helping spread hospital superbugs?
Perhaps you, too, have friends who go nowhere without their hand sanitizer. Perhaps you, too, laugh at them beneath your clenched top lip. However, researchers at Ondokiz Mayis University in Turkey are discovering that germs lurk everywhere. Especially in cell phones belonging to doctors and nurses, according to an Agence France Presse report. In fact, these phones may be a significant source of infections such as MRSA, which seems to have become an increasing danger in hospitals all over the world. In researching the cell phones and dominant hands of 200 doctors and nurses, the researchers found that 95 percent of the phones were home to at least one bacterium. Nearly 35 percent hosted two. And 11 percent enjoyed three or more bugs of various descriptions. What is perhaps most stunning is that 1 in 8 were found to harbor the potentially deadly MRSA bug, which is said to be the cause of 60 percent of all hospital infections. ...


Can you fear me now?

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Sat, Feb 14, 2009
from Reuters:
Sea sponge shows promise as superbug antidote
CHICAGO (Reuters) -- A compound from a sea sponge was able to reverse antibiotic resistance in several strains of bacteria, making once-resistant strains succumb to readily available antibiotics, U.S. researchers said on Friday. "We can resensitize these pathogenic bacteria to standard, current-generation antibiotics," said Peter Moeller of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hollings Marine Laboratory in Charleston, South Carolina. Drug-resistant bacteria are a growing problem in hospitals worldwide, marked by the rise of superbugs such as methicillin-resistant Staphyloccus aureus, or MRSA. Such infections kill about 19,000 people a year in the United States. Moeller, who is working with researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina and North Carolina State University, said the team noticed a sponge thriving in what was an otherwise dead coral reef. "It begged the question how is it surviving when everything else is dying?" Moeller told reporters at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago. "This opened up a whole new arena for us." The researchers began chopping the sponge into smaller and smaller bits to isolate the properties that helped the sponge thrive in hostile marine conditions. The team found that these bits of sponge were able to repel bacterial biofilms -- a slimy substance bacteria form to help stick to surfaces. ...


Sponges able to repel...? Now that's deep!

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Mon, Jan 26, 2009
from London Guardian:
Hospitals will take meat off menus in bid to cut carbon
Meat-free menus are to be promoted in hospitals as part of a strategy to cut global warming emissions across the National Health Service. The plan to offer patients menus that would have no meat option is part of a strategy to be published tomorrow that will cover proposals ranging from more phone-in GP surgeries to closing outpatient departments and instead asking surgeons to visit people at their local doctor's surgery. Some suggestions are likely to be controversial with patients' groups, especially attempts to curb meat eating and car use. Plans to reuse more equipment could raise concern about infection with superbugs such as MRSA. Dr David Pencheon, director of the NHS sustainable development unit, said the amount of NHS emissions meant it had to act to make cuts, and the changes would save money, which could be spent on better services for patients. ...


Animals applauded this decision as well.

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Sat, Jan 24, 2009
from Scientific American:
A New Strain of Drug-Resistant Staph Infection Found in U.S. Pigs
A strain of drug-resistant staph identified in pigs in the Netherlands five years ago, which accounts for nearly one third of all staph in humans there, has been found in the U.S. for the first time, according to a new study. Seventy percent of 209 pigs and nine of 14 workers on seven linked farms in Iowa and Illinois were found to be carrying the ST398 strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)... If it turns out to cause disease in humans in the U.S., ST398 could further complicate the general struggle against MRSA, which is already being fought on two fronts: against a hospital-acquired strain that began attacking U.S. patients in the late 1960s, and a community strain that began sickening healthy people (who had not been hospitalized) in the 1990s. The staph strains are related, but have different genetic profiles and different resistance patterns. The hospital strain contaminates wounds and causes overwhelming bacterial infections, whereas the community strain causes a range of symptoms from mild infections to rapidly fatal pneumonias. Both can be deadly: In 2007 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that in 2005 94,360 Americans contracted invasive infections and 18,650 of them died; 85 percent of the deaths, it said, were caused by the health care strain. ...


Humans are just guinea pigs for pigs!

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Tue, Jan 20, 2009
from Los Angeles Times:
A new MRSA threat: children's ear, nose and neck infections
The community strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus behind an explosion in nasty skin infections across the country is now causing ear and sinus infections and neck abscesses in children nationwide, a new study has found. Of 21,000 pediatric staphylococcus infections from 2001 to 2006, 22 percent were the aggressive community MRSA strain known to scientists as USA300. Moreover, the six-year review of data from more than 300 hospitals revealed an "alarming nationwide increase" in these infections, from just under 12 percent of in 2001 to 28 percent in 2006, according to the study published Monday in Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery.... As long as staph stays where it's supposed to stay --on the outside -- it does little harm. But when it becomes invasive, slipping into a part of the body where it shouldn't be, any strain can cause severe infections of bones, joints, blood and lungs. And USA300 is particularly virulent, or capable of causing disease. ...


I can just hear the little urchins snufflin' and sneezin'.

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Wed, Nov 19, 2008
from London Daily Mail:
New superbug version of E.coli found on British dairy farm
A new superbug version of E.coli which could trigger life-threatening infections has been found on a dairy farm. The mutant strain of E.coli 026 is believed to have emerged as a result of the heavy use of antibiotics on farm animals. It is the first time it has been discovered in this country and only the third time it has been found anywhere in the world. The bug is similar to the infamous E.coli 0157 which has been implicated in fatal food poisoning outbreaks. ...


Just so the mad cows don't come home to roost!

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Sun, Sep 28, 2008
from London Guardian:
Deaths soar from hospital superbugs
Almost 37,000 NHS patients have died after catching either the MRSA or C-difficile hospital superbugs during Labour's time in office, official figures show. The two virulent infections claimed 36,674 lives between 1997 and 2007. Of those, 26,208 were from Clostridium difficile and 10,466 from MRSA. Numbers dying in England and Wales from C-difficile soared from 975 in 1999 to 8,324 last year, a jump of about 850 per cent, while fatalities linked to MRSA grew from 386 in 1997 to 1,593 in 2007. ...


Makes the Hippocratic Oath seem a bit hypocritical.

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Tue, Sep 16, 2008
from Loyola University, via EurekAlert:
Is re-emerging superbug the next MRSA?
"Disease caused by Clostridium difficile can range from nuisance diarrhea to life-threatening colitis that could lead to the surgical removal of the colon, and even death,"... When C-diff is not actively dividing, it forms very tough spores that can exist on surfaces for months and years, making it very difficult to kill, Johnson said. "Antibiotics are very effective against the growing form of the bacteria but it doesn't do anything to the spores," Johnson said. "If there are spores they can sit around like stealth bombs. Once the antibiotic is gone, these spores can germinate again and spread their toxins." ...


Is it time for a war on terrorist spore stealth bombs?

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Sun, Jun 15, 2008
from Edinburgh Scotsman:
Superbug in hospital outbreak 'has same death rate as smallpox'
"EXPERTS fear the strain of Clostridium difficile that has killed eight people at the Vale of Leven Hospital, and been involved in the deaths of eight more, is as deadly as smallpox. The strength of the 027 strain is under investigation, but the rate of fatalities in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde hospital, in West Dunbartonshire, has horrified bacteriologists." ...


Is there anything more terrifying than a horrified bacteriologist?

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Mon, Jun 9, 2008
from Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
Potentially fatal bacteria found in pigs, farmworkers
"Federal food safety and public health agencies are being urged to begin checking meat sold across the country for the presence of MRSA, a potentially fatal bacteria. Scientists have found the infection in U.S. pigs and farmworkers... MRSA -- methicillin- resistant Staphylococcus aureus -- can be extremely dangerous, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Monina Klevens examined the cases of the disease reported in hospitals, schools and prisons in one year and extrapolated that "94,360 invasive MRSA infections occurred in the United States in 2005; these infections were associated with death in 18,650 cases." ...


We may want to improve upon the Four Horsemen image with something more akin to The Three Little Apocalyptic Pigs.

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Thu, Mar 27, 2008
from Toronto Globe and Mail:
Superbug MRSA spreading fast, report warns
"A staggering 29,000 Canadian hospital patients acquired the superbug MRSA in a one-year period, including an estimated 2,300 whose deaths were partly attributed to the pernicious bacteria, federal figures released today show. The increase in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus translates into 12,000 new infections plus 17,000 patients who became colonized, said Andrew Simor, co-chairman of the Canadian Nosocomial Infection Surveillance Program. (Being colonized with MRSA means the patients are carriers who are not infected and show no symptoms.)" ...


If this so called "superbug" really wants to get ahead in life, it better acquire a new acronym -- one that spells a recognizable word.

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