How to predict ESBL BSI (part 2)

A month ago (April 11) I blogged on the difficulties in predicting the presence of ESBL-producing bacteria as a cause of infection at the time antibiotics must be started. Wouter Rottier (PhD student) developed 2 prediction rules (for community-onset and hospital-onset infection), that seem to do better than current guideline recommendations (especially for reducing unnecessary carbapenem use). Another PhD student (Tim Deelen) now wants to validate these rules, globally. The “crowd-funding study approach” worked and sites across the world joined us…. Continue reading

Fluoroquinolone use and C. difficile infections: The English miracle not yet explained?

A few weeks ago in LID this marvellous paper, clearly demonstrated the reduction of fluoroquinolone-resistant but not fluoroquinolone-susceptible C. diff infections (CDI) in English hospitals, coined as “the English C. diff miracle”. The CDI decline coincided with the reduction of fluoroquinolone use, but also with a period in which “horizontal” infection control measures, such as hand hygiene, were improved. As the latter would be equally effective in preventing transmission of resistant and susceptible strains, the fluoroquinolone reduction was considered causative for the observed reduction. A very simple model tells us that that is not necessarily the case. Continue reading


To me, VRE is an old love that never let me down. In 1995 (!) I studied its epidemiology in Chicago (using PFGE), and we described it as the “triple-threat bug”: a gut colonizer like Gram-negatives, a skin colonizer like MRSA and an environmental contaminator like C. diff. A new study in CID, using WGS, illustrates its complex epidemiology. After 20 years, that complexity seems explained, and now we can no longer avoid the question what to do with VRE. Keep on cherishing its “feared pathogen status” like MRSA, or accept that it is just something like MRSE, and stop bothering. Continue reading

Chinese carbapenamases: Fly like an eagle

I blogged on mcr-1 (colistin resistance) in China last week, to share the latest reassuring data. Well, the paper on which todays’ blog is printed will be used to wrap tomorrows’ market fish (typical Dutch expression). Nicolle Stoesser (Oxford) send me the latest news, coming from a Nature Microbiology study providing evidence for the potential of spread of carbapenamases by flies and birds. Not reassuring at all, and potentially with major consequences. Continue reading

Colistin resistance and mortality


My previous blog on “mcr-1 and the end of the world” evoked responses on the important effects of colistin resistance on patient outcome, referring to a new study in CID with the following abstract closure: “Importantly, mortality was increased in patients with colistin-resistant isolates.” The wording is correct, but I’m afraid that it will be interpreted incorrectly. Continue reading

Mcr-1 and the end of the world

If you read this, you may well be concerned about antibiotic resistance and consider reducing the burden of disease caused by AMR as one of your professional goals. Broad attention helps us to fight the problem: it creates awareness and funds for research. So, how do we cope with data that may jeopardize these ambitions (raising awareness fort he problem AMR)? Here is the eaxmple of mcr-1. Continue reading

ESBL on meat: be aware of filet Americain

Tabloids have repeatedly warned the people for superbugs on chicken meat, after researchers had convincingly shown that the chicken filets that we buy are contaminated with ESBL-producing bacteria, mainly E. coli. Widely considered a public health threat, it was a decisive argument to insist on reductions in antibiotic use in the agricultural industry in the Netherlands. Yet, whether meat contamination constitutes a risk for human health is unknown. This was now quantified, with surprising results. Continue reading