Web Zap*Germs Archive

July 20, 2005

Antibiotic-resistant E.coli "Sweeping" Southern England, Says UK's Chief Medical Officer

A report released by Sir Liam Donaldson states that since 2003, a particularly virulent strain of E. coli (extended- spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing E.coli, if you want to be very specific) has infected about 1,000 in southern England around Southampton, and has killed at least 29 people.

The Independent's article adds much detail, from the Chief Medical Officer's report, including this:
Most of those affected are elderly or have chronic diseases and weakened immune systems. In almost nine out of 10 cases, the bug causes a urinary infection, with one in 20 causing blood infections.

The CMO's report says that "treatment options" for the superbug are "very limited". "Death rates may be high, possibly related to treatment delays," it says. But the number of deaths had fallen "due to increasing awareness of the problem among clinicians".


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