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

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Reflections IPC pre-ECCMID event

“How do we communicate our scientific results, beliefs and doubts to our peers, policy makers and the lay men?”

Posting blogs on Reflections on Infection Prevention and Control is a possibility. For the occasion of the ECCMID 2019 meeting in Amsterdam, the “Reflections on IPC blog team” and UMCU PhD students invite you to this pre-ECCMID event, on the Friday before ECCMID (April 12th) in Amsterdam.

We have a high-quality entertaining program and hope to meet you in a most pleasant atmosphere. Jop de Vrieze is a prominent Dutch science journalist with a great interest in infectious diseases. He writes for Science, de Groene Amsterdammer and Volkskrant, to name a few. Miquel Ekkelenkamp is a clinical microbiologist with a PhD in day-time, but at night he writes (real) novels and razor-sharp columns. Muge Cevik is an infectious diseases registrar from the United Kingdom, who worked on an analysis of all the tweets sent during the ECCMID 2018 conference in Madrid.  Martin Kiernan, a Visiting Clinical Fellow at the Richard Wells Research Centre of the University of West London and distinguished IPC blog writer will present the top 10 reflections on IPC. And Rinze Benedictus from the UMC Utrecht will end the program with explaining the concepts of Science in Transition, an international movement to change several aspects of the current academic system, such as the pressure to publish as much as possible in journals with high impact factors, and where that all can lead to.

Now, since this all happens in the Netherlands we must obey to Dutch rules. One of them is that you need to sign up and pay €25,– AIOS/PhD and €45,–. for medical specialists. This is an evidence-based intervention to reduce the “no-show rate” from 80% (with free entrance) to at most 10%, and to prevent us ending the evening with loads of uneaten “bitterballen”. We can host about 70 guests!

Venue: Cafe Weesper, Weesperzijde 144, Amsterdam

18.00-19.00     Wellcome
19.00-19.20     Jop de Vrieze: Science and communication
19.20-19.40     Miquel Ekkelenkamp: the art of science
19.40-20.00     Muge Cevik: Science in tweets
20.00-20.30     Break with Dutch cuisine and drinks
20.30-20.50    Martin Kiernan: The Top Ten Reflections on IPC
20.50-21.15    Rinze Bendictus: Science in Transition

Happy gathering. Hope to see you there.

You can sign in here: https://webshop.umcutrecht.nl/umcutrecht/nl/Products.aspx

The antibiotic resistance crisis resolved by bateriophages (part 5)

Yesterday we had another episode on the miracles of bacteriophage therapy on Dutch television. In the show I asked our minister of Health to modify the Dutch law, in order to make scientific evaluation of this approach in patients possible. Yet, the reasons why we need this change were not broadcasted. As several patients explained how they had been treated across Europe, this must have bee confusing, people not understanding why I – the knucklehead – failed to do studies. Let me explain. Continue reading

AMR deaths in Europe (part 2)

“33000 people die every year due to infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria” this is what ECDC released on Nov 6, 2018, on their website. “Superbugs kill 33,000 in Europe every year” said CNN and the same wording was used (in Dutch) by our Telegraaf. Naturally, the headings were based on the ECDC study published that day in Lancet ID, which happened to be the most downloaded paper ever of the journal. But was this really what was published? Valentijn Schweitzer and I got lost in translation when trying to answer that question. Continue reading

No jab, no play; no jab, no pay

It may be the annual “cucumber time” or Trump-fatigue, but childhood vaccination is dominating Dutch news. The problem: the proportion of children being immunized against, for instance measles, is (slowly) declining and approaches the level that offers herd protection. That is a risk for children in the time window between passive protection by mothers’ IgG and active immunisation (at 14 months) and for persons that cannot be immunized for medical reasons. We were familiar with parents refusing immunization of their kids for religious reasons (because someone forgot to mention vaccination in the bible), but now non-religious and well-educated parents do the same. These “philosophic refusals” mostly decide to do so on information derived from internet. How can epidemiology help us to curb this problem? Continue reading

Santa’s little helper: engaging children to create information for patients

A cracker in the Christmas BMJ reports the insightful use of children to help create patient information leaflets. Whilst the article is tongue-in-cheek, in the spirit of the Christmas BMJ, there may just be something in it!

Continue reading

Publish or perish

Our careers (at least partly) depend on our publications. The more, the better and to suit our needs we have a journal for any kind of publication. Sometimes, you read something and you may think “Hey, I have seen that before”. If the new study than confirms a previous finding, we apparently have a reproducible fact, which increases the likelihood that it is indeed true. Here is an example. Or not? Continue reading