Drug-resistant urinary tract infections spreading worldwide

December 28, 2009

A sudden worldwide increase in an antibiotic-resistant bacterium is cause for concern, according to a review in f1000 Medicine Reports.

Faculty of 1000 member Dr Johann Pitout, of the Department of and Laboratory Medicine, University of Calgary, urges the medical community to monitor the spread of a multi-drug resistant bacterium before it becomes necessary to use more powerful as a first response.

Extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) are bacterially-produced enzymes that confer resistance to penicillin-type antibiotics. ESBLs have been commonly linked to nosocomial infections, which are generally treated with intravenously-administered antibiotics such as the carbapenems.

However, in recent years there has been a drastic increase in community-acquired infections, caused by a single strain of ESBL-producing E. coli. Dr Pitout suggests that the rapid spread of this particular strain is due, at least in part, to international travel through high-risk areas such as the Indian subcontinent.

Using carbapenems as the first response to such infections increases the risk of inducing resistance to them in the community, nullifying some of our most powerful anti-bacterial strategies. Dr Pitout recommends that the medical community should use existing methods to identify infections caused by ESBL-producing bacteria, and empirically test the efficacy of other antibiotics in treating community-acquired infections.

Dr Pitout concludes, "If this emerging public health threat is ignored … the medical community may be forced to use the carbapenems as the first choice for the empirical treatment of serious [community-acquired UTIs]."

Explore further: Stick with simple antibiotics for pneumonia to avoid super bugs, says researcher

Related Stories

C. difficile and antibiotics not necessarily linked

October 7, 2008

The latest study by Dr. Sandra Dial from the Research Institute of the MUHC, McGill University, and Attending Staff in the Intensive Care Unit at the Jewish General Hospital, questions the assumption held by a vast majority ...

Nanotechnology used to probe effectiveness of antibiotics

February 4, 2009

A group of researchers led by scientists from the London Centre for Nanotechnology, in collaboration with a University of Queensland researcher, have discovered a way of using tiny nano-probes to help understand how an antibiotic ...

New study finds MRSA on the rise in hospital outpatients

November 24, 2009

The community-associated strain of the deadly superbug MRSA -- an infection-causing bacteria resistant to most common antibiotics -- poses a far greater health threat than previously known and is making its way into hospitals, ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.