I made a flying visit to HIS today in Liverpool to have a debate with Prof Mark Wilcox on whether or not antibiotics are the most important factor in healthcare-associated C. difficile infection. Mark was arguing for the motion, and I was arguing against it. And the result…well you’ll have to read to the bottom!
We’ll be publishing the results of the vote on whether or not we can halve HA-GNBSI by 2021 later this week. Right now, it looks like Martin is heading for a comfortable, if somewhat depressing victory (“No, we can’t halve GNBSI by 2021”) but there’s still time to ride a wave of positivity and vote with me that “Yes, we can halve GNBSI by 2021”. So, I thought that now would be an appropriate time to review the recent JHI paper that both Martin and I referred to, providing some enhanced epidemiological data on E. coli BSIs in England.
A new Lancet ID study suggests that restriction of fluoroquinolone usage has been the main driver of the national reduction in C. difficile infection in England. This paper is challenging in terms of some of the accepted approaches to controlling the transmission of C. difficile: if it’s all about reducing fluoroquinolones (and antimicrobials in general) and nothing to do with these measures, then why invest so much time and energy in isolation of symptomatic cases, cleaning and disinfection etc?
A fascinating new JAMA Internal Medicine study suggests that being admitted to a room when the prior occupant had taken antibiotics increases the risk of the subsequent occupant of the same room developing C. difficile infection (CDI). Quite a few convincing epi studies have showed that admission to a room when the prior occupant was known to have a number of key pathogens (including C. difficile) increased the chance of acquisition for the subsequent occupant. But this study extends the ‘prior room occupancy’ concept into a new dimension!
I am currently reading ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’ by Professor Dame Sally Davies, Dr Jonathan Grant and Professor Mike Catchpole (yes, I know I’m several years late to this particular party). I might do a book review for the blog once I’ve finished it – but an interesting question emerged in the early chapters. The author seem to make a point of referring to ‘antimicrobials’ rather than ‘antibiotics’ in the early part of the book, but later on, antibiotics appears as a common term. Which got me to thinking about what is the most appropriate generic term for what most people would term ‘antibiotics’ (what your GP gives you when you’ve got a snuffle, I mean potentially serious bacterial infection)?
Take a look at these three stories on intensive poultry production and antimicrobial resistance in India published yesterday on the Bloomberg website. In accordance with what the movie industry does, these articles should be accompanied by a warning: “These articles contains scenes that some readers may find disturbing”. As the editor of the articles said in an email to colleagues that forwarded it to me: “I think you’ll agree that these are important stories and deserve attention (and hopefully a response from the appropriate authorities and the community).” Obviously, I do agree.