Weekly Digest: CLABSIs on Hospital Compare, resistant E. coli in Antarctica, and zinc’s effects on child pneumonia mortality

10 Feb 2012
Andrea Titus

A round-up of news on drug resistance and more.

Despite CDC recommendations that all health workers get an annual flu vaccine, it’s estimated that just under 64% did so in 2010-11. The National Vaccine Advisory Committee, which advises HHS’s National Vaccine Program, is urging hospitals to make flu vaccines a mandatory condition of employment. New research in BMC Infectious Diseases adds evidence to the argument that vaccinating health workers could help protect against HAIs in acute care facilities.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that rates of central line associated blood stream infections (CLABSIs), reported through NHSN, are now available on HHS’s Hospital Compare website.   CDC explains the significance of the data on Safe Healthcare, and NPR breaks it down, finding a wide variation in CLABSI rates across the country.  Controversies in Hospital Infection Prevention also asks, with these rates linked to hospital reimbursement, how much incentive is there to cheat?

Doctors looking for drugs to treat bladder infections resistant to fluoroquinolones are disappointed by the results of a study of cefpodoxime, a cephalosporin antibiotic.

Medscape (free subscription required) covers a January 2012 study on how drug shortages are affecting the supply of anti-infectives, including antibiotics, in the United States.

Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) offer a reminder that we need new antibiotics to treat resistant infections, and argue that the recently introduced GAIN Act could incentivize the development of these important drugs.

FDA is alerting doctors to a correlation between use of heartburn drugs and C. difficile infections.

Drug-resistant gonorrhea is back in the news, this time in the form of a warning about dwindling treatment options in the New England Journal of Medicine (subscription required).

Beyond the U.S.:

A paper in PLoS Medicine looks at transmission of C. difficile in several UK hospital wards and finds little evidence of transmission through human contact with symptomatic carriers.  The paper “suggests C. difficile infection might not be effectively controlled by current strategies to prevent person-to-person spread” and encourages new research into understanding C. diff reservoirs and transmission patterns.  A letter, “Clostridium: Transmission difficile,” responds to the implications of the study.

Scientists have uncovered the first human-originated, ESBL-producing strains of E. coli in Antarctica.  Read the study here.

Research suggests that general practitioners in the UK prescribe approximately 1.6 million unnecessary courses of antibiotics each year. Read the paper in BMJ.

Could adding zinc to antibiotic regimens reduce child mortality from pneumonia?

A qualitative study of German doctors demonstrates that hospital physicians welcome regular feedback on local resistance patterns to help guide prescribing decisions around antibiotics.

India moves towards harsher punishments for companies that violate ethics guidelines for trials.  This announcement comes as the number of registered trials is rising dramatically in the country, increasing from 11 in 2007 to 2,380 in 2011, according to a representative of the Clinical Trials Registry of India quoted in Nature Medicine.

Experts are warning that roadblocks in trade negotiations between India and the EU could threaten access to life-saving medicines for the poor across developing countries.

Health G20, including “A call for action to combat antibiotic resistance” (p. 92) is available to download as an e-book.

Results from a surveillance network in Peru, published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, show high rates of antibiotic resistant bacteria, including MRSA.

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Image credit: Flickr: Tulane Publications