24 Sep 2013 – Report by CDC details today’s drug-resistant health threats

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US has in the last week released a landmark report entitled “Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013” which presents for the first time a snapshot of the burden and threats posed by antibiotic-resistant germs having the most impact on human health. As well as identifying methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the CDC have also identified Vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VRSA) among the three bacteria classified as concerning threats, despite there having only been thirteen cases reported to date.

The report also notes that “whist invasive MRSA infections in healthcare
settings appear to be declining…the rates of MRSA infections have increased
rapidly among the general population (people who have not recently received
care in a healthcare setting).” demonstrating that the problem has now
spread out of hospitals into the general community and is a growing
problem.

Dr Bill Love, CEO of Destiny Pharma said “The CDC report emphasises just how important antibiotic-resistance is becoming, particularly in the US. Whilst the report rightly focuses on antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the problem of healthcare-associated infections is not limited to bacteria that are antibiotic-resistant and the CDC report highlights that Staphylococcus bacteria, of which MRSA is a sub-population, are one of the most common causes of healthcare-associated infections”.

In fact, recent data by Public Health England (formerly the Health Protection Agency) demonstrated that whist hospital bacteraemia (bacterial infection of the bloodstream) caused by MRSA is slowly decreasing, the number of bacteraemias caused by methicillin sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) has remained constant and is now almost tenfold more prevalent than MRSA infections. This is hardly surprising as studies show that about one in three (33%) people carry MSSA in their nose, whilst only two in 100 (2%) people carry MRSA. The potential for further resistance to emerge, particularly outside of the hospital environment is therefore significant and I welcome this report from the CDC

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