Teaching how to use antibiotics

Antibiotics are probably the best invention since the discovery of sliced bread. They are very effective, very safe, very cheap and every physician is allowed to prescribe them. Trained as internist, ID specialist and later clinical microbiologist, I would never consider myself qualified for performing an appendectomy. Yet, there is not a single surgeon I know (and that may be biased) that considers him/herself not qualified to prescribe a carbapenem. When asked about the mechanism of action, side effects, costs and ecological risks, the brave face usually turns into the typical “so what” mode. Continue reading

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The reality of AMR in Greece

This week I attend the general assembly of COMBACTE, this year in Athens. COMBACTE stands for COMBatting AntibiotiC resistance in Europe (www.combacte.com) and is part of the New Drugs for Bad Bugs (ND4BB) program of the Innovative Medicines Initiative. Our local host is professor George Daikos, who opened the meeting with an overview of the epidemiology of antibiotic resistance in his country. Continue reading

Preventing S. aureus SSI: Who does what? (part 2)

A month ago I blogged on the practices of pre-operative (or better peri-operative) treatment of nasal S. aureus carriage to prevent S. aureus surgical site infection (SSI) in orthopaedic or cardiothoracic surgery patients. The issue brought forward was that a “treat-all” (thus “screen none”) strategy is more feasible, more effective and cheaper than the “screen & treat” strategy. The latter strategy, is associated with less mupirocin exposure and thus less selective pressure for mupirocin-resistance genes. There was a poll with 2 questions. What is your current practice for patients undergoing orthopaedic or cardiothoracic surgery and what do you think the strategy should be, with 3 options for each question; “do nothing”, “screen & treat”, or “treat all”. Today the results. Continue reading

How to predict ESBL (part 5)

A brief update on the ESBL predict study, after the last update  from 6 months ago. Tim Deelen from our group is still running the show and we are still seeking hospitals for participation. It’s for free, it’s easy, relevant and fun! We passed the 5,500 episodes and we learn a lot, including how countries deal with the ethical aspects of this study. Continue reading

The antibiotic resistance crisis resolved by bacteriophages (part 3)

Last October Dutch people were “informed” about the potential of bacteriophages. In short, “bacteriophages work where antibiotics fail because of resistance in critically ill patients, something that is already known for 100 years, and that is neglected by modern medicine”. Some questions were raised, see here and here, but curretly Dutch physicians receive many/daily requests from patients on phage therapy and the most desperate patients pay thousands of euros to seek help abroad, without reimbursement from health insurance. Last week, we had invited the most experienced clinical experts and scientists acting at the cutting edge of preclinical bacteriophage research. Here is my impression of the clinical part. Continue reading

Preventing S. aureus SSI: Who does what?

Pre-operative (or better peri-operative) treatment of nasal S. aureus carriage is one of the most – if not the most – effective infection prevention measure. A large double-blind randomized controlled trial convincingly confirmed the meta-analysis results of previously performed smaller studies: 5 days of nasal mupirocin ointment together with chlorhexidine showering reduced the incidence of deep-seated S. aureus surgicial site infection (SSI) with 80% among S. aureus carriers undergoing orthopaedic or cardiothoracic surgery. Eight years after publication of these findings I (and others) still have the feeling that many hospitals have not implemented this measure. Continue reading

Where does your ESBL come from?

Last Friday the results of the ESBL Attribution study (ESBLAT) were presented. After considerable media attention for ESBL-producing bacteria on our meat (especially retail chicken meat) and a 84-year old woman being “the first deadly victim of the new chicken-ESBL bacterium” a research consortium was asked to quantify the role of ESBL in animal industry for human health. The “research lab” was the Netherlands: one of the most densely populated countries in the world for both humans and animals, with the highest antibiotic use in the world for animals and the lowest for humans. If anywhere, zoonotic transmission should happen there! Continue reading