Studying bacteriophages: catch-22

As posted previously, bacteriophage therapy is making a remarkable come-back, if measured in media attention. It is portrayed as safe and effective in treating infections where antibiotics fail. Yet, well-designed controlled studies either lack or failed to demonstrate benefits. All we have are case reports, with – with no exception – spectacular results. But that doesn’t make bacteriophages part of our daily options for treatment. And thus, desperate patients pay thousands of euros for bacteriophages in Georgia, Poland and Belgium for self-treatment, while – at the same time – all of us seem to agree that efficacy and safety should be determined. Continue reading

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The war against CPE

An interesting publication on the control of CPE last week. Not in Nature, Science of Journal of Hospital Infection, but in the “Staatsblad van het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden”. The paper, “Besluit van 26 april 2019, houdende aanpassing van het Besluit publieke gezondheid vanwege een meldingsplicht voor Carbapenemaseproducerende Enterobacteriaceae”, with King Willem-Alexander as first author, implies that on April 26th it was decided that from July 1st 2019 on, by law, all CPE detected in the Netherlands must be notified, see. A next step in our war against CPE.

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The winner takes it all  for S. aureus

As usual, some of the most interesting presentations at ECCMID were in the late-breakers “clinical trials” session. Four of 5 presentations were on treatment or prevention of S. aureus infection, the other one on oral treatment in patients with refractory fungal disease. With all respect to fungi, the meat was in the aureus, with nothing less than a Shakespearian tragedy. Continue reading

From crowded house to ESBL-free house

A few weeks ago, Jon Otter blogged about a novel risk factor for ESBL Enterobacterales (ESBL-E) carriage, a “crowded house”, based on his work recently published in CMI: among 1,633 subjects in the catchment area of South-East London a crowded house, was associated with ESBL-E carriage, with an odds ratio of 1.5 (95% CI 1.1-2.2). Jon hinted towards future community-based interventions to reduce ESBL-E carriage and his blog naturally reached our research meeting. Continue reading

What urine can tell you

Urine should not be seen as a useless excretion product. Doping experts know, as do clinical microbiologists. In two recently published studies zillions of urine cultures were drained from computer systems and linked to primary care data, yielding very interesting findings. One study from Israel quantified the effects of direct and indirect fluoroquinolone use on antibiotic resistance in E. coli, see also our comments to that study. The second comes from the UK, the country that has an ambition to reduce Gram-negative bacterial bloodstream infection rates by 50%, because of increasing BSI rates. This study may provide both the reason for the problem and the direction to meet that ambition. Continue reading

AMR strategy in the UK: IPC is high on the agenda (hooray)

The Department of Health have published a new 5 year National Action Plan to combat AMR (2019-2024) to follow on from the 2013-2018 edition. IPC and antimicrobial stewardship are high on the agenda – but we have a long way to go if we are to fulfil the 20 year vision for AMR: ‘By 2040, our vision is of a world in which antimicrobial resistance is effectively contained, controlled and mitigated.’

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“Why Dutch hospitals are so good at beating superbugs”

It is with great pleasure that I ask your attention for this article that appeared in the Economist. Yes, we still have low resistance rates in our hospitals and if you’re interested in how that happened, read it. The prosaic composition contains two parts; a very realistic thriller-like opening, followed by a second part with a rather unrealistic explanation. Both parts are separated by a short sentence of absolute nonsense. Time for a review. Continue reading