A high profile article was published earlier this year in Science Translational Medicine, suggesting that Enterococcus faecium can exhibit clinically relevant levels of tolerance to alcohol-based hand hygiene products. The article has generated a huge amount of press coverage and discussion amongst experts. So, I thought it was about time I gave the article a once over. My initial thought was this would be unhelpful extrapolation of low-level tolerance to alcohol gel that wouldn’t be meaningful in a clinical setting. But having read the paper, there’s genuine concern here. Overall though, if true resistance to alcohol gel was going to be a problem, I’m pretty sure it would have reared its ugly head already.
In a recent BMJ article, Llewelyn et al. argue that the old dogma of completing a prescribed course of antibiotics to prevent antibiotic-resistance is a myth, not based on evidence. Actually the opposite, namely taking antibiotics for longer than necessary, increases the risk of resistance.
While I love breaking down old dogmas (we actually had a poll on this topic some time back), many of today’s papers in the Netherlands (and I am pretty sure elsewhere, too) misinterpret the study, by slaughtering the message to patients to “always complete the full prescription”. One of the Netherlands most influential newspapers the Volkskrant, already wrote: “Finishing antibiotic course? Nonsense.”
Guest blogger, Prof Peter Collignon (bio below) writes…
EU proposals on colistin use in food animals are just restrictions. Why not a ban?
We are now in a situation around the world where rising levels of resistance means that for many life-threatening infections with Gram-negative bacteria such as E.coli, the only effective antibiotic is now IV colistin. Colistin (polymyxin E) is an old drug that has been resurrected for use because there are no other alternatives available – even though it has major renal and neural toxicities.