ESPAUR 2019: a snazzy facelift

The 2019 edition of the ESPAUR report has recently been published, including data up to and including 2018. The report is an excellent read – here’s a few summary points.

  • There’s a series of lovely infographics at the start of the report. I gave myself a challenge: to select the one infographic that told the story of the report. I toyed with the one about a small but increasing number of CPE BSIs (aghhhhh!), and the stark grave-stone themed image of mortality related to carbapenemase-producers, but ended up with this one: alarmingly, the rate of BSI for the seven priority bacterial pathogens rose 22% between 2014 and 2018 to 145 per 100,000 population. (Around half of these were coli). And there’s a certain inexorability about the antimicrobial resistance trends included in this report, with a 32% increase in AMR BSIs comparing 2014 to 2018.

Figure: Trends in BSIs (blue line) and AMR BSIs (green line).

  • There were more than 60k antibiotic resistant severe infections in 2018, <150 per day.
  • Confirmed CPEs have topped 4k (but this is a gross underestimate of true prevalence). The report makes the case that the rarity of CPE BSIs (142 reported nationally) represents a success of prevention. This is probably true if we compare across the pond and towards the southern reaches of Europe. But difficult to be sure without a control (i.e. what would have happened without the national initiatives etc)? Also, reporting of CPE BSIs to PHE is voluntary and not mandatory, so there will be some degree of under-reporting.
  • Related to this, only 50% of diagnostic labs have introduced methods to detect CPE locally. Which links closely with the change in surveillance system for CPEs going forwards – rather than manual voluntary reporting, locally confirmed CPEs will be reported automatically to PHE. However, if only 50% of diagnostic labs have appropriate methods, we’ll still end up under-reporting (but it will be more a more accurate picture than the current process provides).
  • 30 day all-cause mortality of invasive CPE infections is 24% (along with the arresting gravestone-themed infographic)! Not sure how helpful it is to make a big point based on unadjusted mortality data…
  • Overall consumption of antibiotics continues to decline. Consumption fell from 20 to 18 DDDs per 1,000 population per day between 2014 and 2018. However, consumption increased by 3% in hospitals over this period.
  • There’s a nice section on Candida auris
  • ESPAUR reports some good work and outcomes related to training, education, and awareness (e.g. Keep Antibiotics Working and Antibiotic Guardian).
  • What a wonderful resource the AMR Fingertips module is: automated data from >90% of NHS laboratories on a range of AMR indicators at our…ahem…fingertips. I am one of the 15k users over the past three years. (As an aside, the volume of traffic is fairly low by popular website standards – but I guess it is somewhat niche!)

ESPAUR is a fantastic resource – it seems that this is the last ESPAUR report related to the UK AMR Strategy from 2013-2018, but I’m confident that ESPAUR will continue to report the successes and challenges of implementing the new five year action plan (from 2019-2024).

Rampant carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella BSIs: a window to a post-antibiotic apocalypse?

People have been talking in apocalyptic terms for years – probably decades – about the threat of AMR. But has this really materialised? MRSA BSIs are now rare in the UK, and C. difficile infections are rarer than they once were. But things are looking considerably gloomier in other parts of the world. For example, a frankly shocking study from a Greek ICU gives us a view of what a post-antibiotic apocalypse may look like…

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Who’s going to go for GNBSI? A reflection from HIS 2018

I attended a thought-provoking session at the recent Healthcare Infection Society (HIS) conference in Liverpool on reducing GNBSI (you can download some of the speaker abstracts here). It seems that the hefty majority of E. coli BSIs are rooted in issues outwith the walls of acute hospitals. So the question is, who’s going to tackle these issues to prevent GNBSI? Who’s going to go for GNBSI (sorry, couldn’t resist another pop-culture reference to the ‘80s – who could forget ‘Going for Gold’ with Henry Kelly).

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A rapid reflection from Infection Prevention 2017: HCAI ranking according to DALY

I am heading home from an outstanding Infection Prevention 2017. There was a fair bit of discussion about hospital-associated pneumonia (HAP). HAP does not get the attention it deserves and there is more that we can and should be doing to prevent it. Although, we need to keep an eye out for unintended consequences in tackling HAP.

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Can we halve Gram-negative BSIs by 50% by 2021? The crowd say “No”

Most of those casting their vote supported Martin’s (somewhat pessimistic) view that we can’t halve Gram-negative BSI by 2021 (see the figure, below).  Let me first give you my own, unspoiled opinion (written before the results of this survey were known).  I was intending to vote for option 3 (the English can’t, the Dutch might) but I am not even sure of that; actually, I believe that neither the English nor the Dutch can.

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Going for GNBSI

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.

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Can we really halve Gram-negative BSIs (GNBSIs) by 2021? Kiernan vs. Otter Mk II

The UK government has recently announced their ambition to halve the rate of Gram-negative BSIs by 2021. Looking at the latest mandatory reporting dataset (see Figure 1 below), you can see why. Impressive reductions in MRSA BSI and C. difficile, but a notable increase in E. coli BSI. And this combined this with worrying data around increased antimicrobial resistance in Gram-negative bacteria from the ESPAUR report. In this post, Martin Kiernan and Jon Otter present both sides of the argument as to whether Gram-negative BSIs can be reduced by 2021, with comment from Andreas Voss and Marc Bonten! And you get to vote on which side of the argument you come down on after reading the arguments. Let battle commence…

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Halving GNBSI


The Department of Health announced last week their intention to halve the rate of E. coli BSI by 2020. Whilst this is a move that should be embraced, it will be an enormous challenge to achieve. The reduction that has been delivered with MRSA BSI could be seen as a model for success (and I suspect that if you were a politician, you would see it this way). However, it is vital to recognise that E. coli BSI and, more broadly, Gram-negative BSI (GNBSI) are not the same as MRSA BSI, and will require a different reduction strategy.

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All BSIs are expensive, not just antimicrobial resistant ones


Eurosurveillance have recently published a study from the TIMER group evaluating the impact of antimicrobial resistance on hospital mortality, excess length of stay (LOS), and cost of BSI in European hospitals. The study highlights the high cost of BSIs, especially when antimicrobial resistant.

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Reducing Gram-negative BSI…by accident


We have precious little data on what works to prevent the transmission of MDR-GNR. An interesting article published recently in CID provides invaluable data that an infection control programme aimed at reducing MRSA (and succeeding) was also effective in reducing GNR BSI!

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