I posted at the beginning of last week about the emergence of the as-yet-formally-unnamed novel coronavirus that has emerged in China. At that stage, it could have been a parochial anomaly in the annals of ID history. What a difference a week makes! Now we are looking at a rapidly emerging international outbreak!
An unusual and interesting outbreak of CPE was published recently in Clinical Infectious Diseases. Several key points: don’t rely solely on a PCR detecting the “Big 5” carbapenemases (NDM, KPC, OXA-48, IMP, VIM) – at some point you need to test for phenotypic carbapenemase activity; WGS can really help us in unravelling complex transmission routes; and covert plasmid propagation within and between species is a reality.
The team at Barts Health, one of the largest NHS hospital groups in the country, has published the findings of a point prevalence screen of all inpatients for carbapenemase-producing organism (CPO) carriage. Overall, 30 (3.1%) of the 977 patient tested were carrying 35 different CPOs (all but one of which were CPE). Risk factors for CPO carriage included hospitalisation abroad, any hospitalisation, and overseas travel (especially to India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh). These findings help us to understand an emerging picture of CPO in the UK.
We tend to find that the flu season in Australia is an early predictor for the severity of the coming flu season in the Europe. And the early indications are the flu in Aus this year is bad – unprecedentedly bad. So, let’s get our flu vaccination campaign planning hats on!
I participated in Imperial College London’s school outreach programme by doing an intro to infectious disease epidemiology with a group of year 10-12 students (age 15-18) (you can download my slides here). It was hugely rewarding and highly recommended for anybody considering supporting this sort of work. The group were sharp, good fun, and asked good questions – and perhaps included one of the next generation of infectious disease epidemiologists?
A team of authors surveyed NHS acute hospitals in England to determine the approach to CPE detection, including laboratory methods. The findings provide an opportunity to compare the approach to CPE detection and prevalence nationally, identifying higher CPE prevalence in the North-West, North-East and the South-East (the region that includes London) of England. The findings also suggest that more screening for CPE would detect more carriers – and perhaps help to prevent a silent epidemic of CPE in some regions.