CPE: a good reason to avoid surgery in Spain!

A clear simple study has a stark headline: 16% of admissions to a Spanish surgical ICU carry CPE. This sort of carriage prevalence is at a ‘practice-affecting’ level: the empiric antibiotic choices may be altered and you begin to wonder what is left when the first signs of infection develop in almost 1 in every 5 patients…

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How to predict ESBL bloodstream infection?

Each day we prescribe antibiotics without knowing the specific cause of infection, yet. Some patients will have an infection caused by an ESBL-producing bug, and they would benefit from immediate treatment with a carbapenem or addition of an aminoglycoside. At the same time we don’t want to misuse carbapenems or hurt kidneys. Wouldn’t it be great if we could accurately predict who would need a carbapenem? Now you can. Continue reading

“Can I swab your rectum please?” ‘Pre-analytical’ factors skew prevalence studies

The analytical lab methods that we use to grow antibiotic-resistant bacteria make a big difference in terms of recovery. However, ‘pre-analytical’ factors are just as important in determining the sensitivity of prevalence studies. We are used to the idea of studies to work out the most sensitive anatomical site to sample for detecting colonisation with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. However, there are other ‘pre-analytical’ factors that may skew the findings of prevalence studies. A study from my old research group at KCL highlights how staff and patient choices, behaviours, and demographics can be pre-analytical factors that could skew prevalence studies.

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Chased by an antibiotic-induced C difficile-shaped shadow


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!

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CPE carriage: a rare event in London?

My old CIDR team have just published a study in JAC reporting a very low rate of carriage of CPE in patient admitted to a hospital in central London (just 5 (0.1%) of 4006 patients). This was a lot lower than we expected! Despite the very low rate of carriage, overseas hospitalisation was a significant risk factor for CPE carriage, and supports that we should be screening patients with recent overseas hospitalisation for CPE carriage.

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CPE has landed in Manchester…officially

A really important point prevalence survey of CPE carriage in inpatients in a hospital in Manchester has just been published in the Journal of Hospital Infection. Important because of the high rate of carriage (11% of 662 patients included). Important because for every 1.6 known cases of CPE, there was an undetected case lurking, despite an extensive screening programme. Important because the lack of significant risk factors associated with CPE carriage suggests that it is distributed homogeneously, endemic in the population. And important because this is the first citable publication suggesting that Manchester has a problem with CPE, despite us having known about it for years via professional networks.

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Community MRSA preys on the poor and deprived

deprivation mrsa

As you can probably tell from the title, this post comes with a warning: it presents some rather “un-PC” data, but I’ll do my best to deliver it calmly and dispassionately! My old research team from KCL have just published a paper in PLOS Medicine on the association between social and material deprivation, and MRSA.

I’ve been interested in the dynamic between hospital-associated (HA) and community-associated (CA) MRSA for years (not least because it was the subject of my PhD thesis). I wrote a review several years ago on how community MRSA should be seen as a genotypic phenomenon with epidemiological implications. Using this framework, it is possible to get your head around CA strains of MRSA beginning to cause hospital-acquired infections. The aim of this study was to use a large collection of MRSA from across several regions of London to explore the transmission dynamics and epidemiological associations of HA and CA types of MRSA.

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