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Weekly Digest: Over 2.8 million antibiotic resistant infections occur in the US every year; Congolese doctor recognized for key role in discovering Ebola; Resistant infections in England are rising.

Weekly Digest: Over 2.8 million antibiotic resistant infections occur in the US every year; Congolese doctor recognized for key role in discovering Ebola; Resistant infections in England are rising.

Over 2.8 million antibiotic resistant infections occur in the US every year. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the 2019 Antibiotic Resistance Threats Report last week, which notes an estimated 2.8 million antibiotic resistant infections and 35,000 resulting deaths in the US each year. The first Antibiotic Resistant Threats Report released in 2013 estimated that at least 2 million antibiotic resistant infections and 23,000 resulting deaths occured in the US every year. The 2019 report groups resistant pathogens into categories ranking urgent, serious, and concerning threats. The urgent threats include carbapenem-resistant AcinetobacterCandida auris, Clostridioides difficile, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, and drug-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae. [CDC]

Congolese doctor recognized for key role in discovering Ebola. In 1973, Dr. Jean-Jacques Muyembe encountered Ebola in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo before the virus had been identified. He investigated the virus and sent blood samples from an infected nun to Belgium for laboratory testing, but Muyembe is rarely cited as one of the scientists who assisted in the discovery of Ebola. Instead, Dr. Peter Piot, a former junior microbiologist at the Institute for Tropical Medicine in Belgium who received the samples from Muyembe, but was not instrumental in identifying the new virus or on naming it, gets a majority of the credit for the discovery in the media. Muyembe also developed a treatment for Ebola using antibodies from survivors, and out of 8 patients who he tested the treatment on, 7 survived. Muyembe hopes that one day scientists in Congo will receive the recognition they deserve for their discoveries. [NPR]

Resistant infections in England are rising. Public Health England (PHE) released the English Surveillance Programme for Antimicrobial Utilisation and Resistance (ESPAUR) report, which notes a 9 percent increase in antibiotic resistant infections in England between 2017 and 2018. Although antibiotic consumption decreased by 9 percent between 2014 and 2018, there were an estimated 60,788 severe resistant infections in 2018, which translates to an incidence of 165 infections per day. [Public Health England]

Probiotics linked to increased risk of bloodstream infections in ICU patients. Scientists from the US and Israel identified a link between bloodstream infections and a popular strain of probiotics in ICU patients at Boston Children’s Hospital. The study found that 1.1 percent of patients who received Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain GG probiotic developed Lactobacillus bacteremia, compared to 0.009 percent of patients who did not receive the probiotic. Isolates from the Lactobacillus bacteremia were highly related to isolates taken from probiotic capsules, according to whole-genome sequencing. [Nature Medicine]

Older adults are concerned about antibiotic misuse, but expect prescriptions when visiting the doctor. The University of Michigan conducted a national survey among adults 50-80 years old regarding antibiotic opinions and experiences. Among respondents, 34 percent believe that antibiotics help treat colds and flu, 41 percent expect an antibiotic if they visit the doctor for a long-lasting cold, 23 percent agree that doctors do not prescribe antibiotics when they should, and 56 percent agree that doctors overprescribe antibiotics. While a majority of respondents are concerned about the issue of antibiotic overuse, their personal expectations around antibiotic prescribing are contradicted when they are sick. [University of Michigan]

Antibiotic prescribing rates drop following physician comparison intervention. The Veterans Affairs health system saw a reduction in antibiotic prescribing rates following the implementation of educational sessions for primary care providers and monthly emails comparing prescribing rates among physicians in seven clinics. Mean monthly prescribing rates decreased by 35.6 percent (p<0.0001), and unnecessary antibiotic prescribing rates decreased by 33.9 percent (p=0.0006) following the intervention. [Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy]

Household score predicts TB risk among index patient contacts. Researchers conducted a 3-year cohort study among 3,301 tuberculosis (TB)-affected households in Ventanilla and 924 affected households in Callao, Lima, Peru to predict TB infection among contacts.  The researchers computed and validated a household-level score to predict tuberculosis risk among contacts of index patients. In Ventanilla and Callao, the risk of household TB was 31 and 28 percent in the highest-scoring quintiles respectively, compared to 2 and 1 percent in the lowest-scoring quintiles. [The Lancet Infectious Diseases]

Flu vaccine protection varies across Southern Hemisphere. After analyzing 2019 flu patterns across Australia, Chile, New Zealand, and South Africa, researchers found that dominant flu strains and vaccine protection varied greatly across the Southern Hemisphere. Early estimates of vaccine effectiveness varied from 7 to 70 percent for 2009 H1N1, 4 to 57 percent for H3N2, and 29 to 66 percent for influenza B among all children, adults, and the elderly. Vaccine effectiveness was highest for the 2009 H1N1 strain among children <18 years in Chile (74 percent). [Eurosurveillance]

Rotavirus vaccination saves thousands of lives and millions of dollars. To update rotavirus vaccine cost-effectiveness estimates, researchers calculated the potential costs and effects of rotavirus vaccination across 73 countries, compared to no vaccination. The study found that the vaccine could prevent ~600,000 deaths, save $484 million from the government perspective, and save $878 million from the societal perspective between 2018 to 2027.[The Lancet Global Health]

Antibiotic use in India, 2000-2015. [CDDEP]