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

The carbapenemase is out there


A PNAS paper on the genomic diversity of carbapenemase producing bacteria in the US reports strong evidence of carbapenamase (an enzyme produced by bacteria that breaks down carabapenem antibiotics) activity but no sign of a carbapenemase gene. This provides a timely reminder that we are only really scratching the surface in our understanding of carbapenemases and how they work.

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The end of antibiotics


A case of pan-drug resistant NDM-producing K. pneumoniae CPE that resulted in a fatal infection in a US woman has prompted a lot of coverage and discussion on both sides of the Atlantic. Although this report is concerning, not least because the patient succumbed to the infection, this is hardly a new scenario. There are parts of the world where pan-drug resistant CPE are commonplace and have been for years (for example parts of India, the likely country of origin of the organism in this case). Before getting to the case report in detail, let’s take a moment to review this case series from India, published in 2014. 13 patients with pan-drug resistant Gram-negative bacteria (7 of whom were infected with K. pneumoniae, 4 of these 7 died) were reported in a specialist cancer treatment centre over 18 months over 2012/13. This evidence, from half a decade ago, shows that pan-drug resistant CPE is by no means a new phenomenon! Continue reading

KPC Casanova carbapenemase


The risk of interspecies transmission of carbapenemase genes is a real concern. We can barely get our heads around many different types of carbapenemase in a whole host of Gram-negative bacteria (compare the relative simplicity of methicillin resistance in S. aureus: a single gene, in a single species). Throw in interspecies horizontal transmission of carbapenemases and things get really tricky! Do we implement different control strategies to try to interrupt the transmission of carbapenemases (in contrast to the organisms themselves)? Could you have a multispecies outbreak of a carbapenemase on your hands and not even realise it?

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Counting the cost of CPE

CMI have just published an article outlining the whopping cost of our CPE outbreak, costing the hospital group in question around £1m over 10 months. We split the costs into ‘actual expenditure’, which would affect the hospital’s financial bottom line, and ‘opportunity costs’ (such as staff time and missed revenue), which can be quite tricky to account for. The large cost of the outbreak and its management accrued over a short time period make a strong financial case for investment in IPC.

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