Bug resistant to antibiotics enters UK

Health experts are warning that a new bug which is resistant to antibiotics has been brought into the UK by patients treated abroad.

The new strains of bacteria, called Enterobacteriaceae, have been identified in UK hospital patients, "a significant proportion of whom had received medical treatment abroad", according to the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

The HPA said that one strain - called NDM-1 (New Delhi Metallo-1) - is "swiftly emerging".

A total of 22 bacteria with the NDM-1 enzyme have been identified from 19 patients at 17 hospitals.

There has been one instance of possible transmission between two patients.

"Critically, at least nine out of 19 affected patients have had recent hospitalisation in India or Pakistan," the HPA said.

One patient received blood treatment in India while two had undergone cosmetic surgery in India.

Others had received renal or liver transplantation in Pakistan.

The HPA said NDM-1 had been repeatedly imported to the UK from the Indian subcontinent, "though there may now also be UK circulation since some affected patients have no immediately identifiable overseas links."

In a statement, it added: "The HPA has been warning for some time of the risk from infections which are more difficult to treat due to antibiotic resistance.

"The recent emergence of a new group of enzymes (carbapenemases) carried by some bacteria is of concern because these enzymes prevent carbapenem antibiotics from working effectively, making the bacteria resistant to treatment.

"This re-emphasises just how important it is that clinicians in hospitals are vigilant in monitoring the emergence of multi-resistant bacteria.

"Identifying possible resistance among infections is particularly important among patients who have been in hospitals in the Indian subcontinent and the Eastern Mediterranean including Greece, Turkey and Israel, where carbapenemases have been identified.

"Carbapenams are powerful antibiotics that are used to fight gram negative bacteria, particularly the multi-resistant ones.

"Other treatment options are available to fight infections caused by these carbapenemase-producing bacteria but they present major challenges for clinicians and will often demand combinations of antibiotics to be used.

"At present this type of antibiotic resistance is comparatively rare in the UK, with testing during 2008 and so far in 2009 having found 20 cases. However, careful monitoring of the situation is needed.

"Antibiotics are a precious resource in fighting infections and one that we must do everything possible to preserve.

"Multi-resistant gram-negative bacteria pose a notable public health risk and it remains important that the pharmaceutical industry continues to work towards developing new treatment options, in the same way they have done for gram-positive bacteria like MRSA."



Professor Brian Duerdan, the Government's inspector of microbiology and infection control, said: "We have been aware of this issue for several months and, after advice from the HPA, we alerted infection specialists in the NHS to the possibility of importation and potential spread of these bacteria.

"This will help us monitor the situation and respond appropriately.

"Maintaining proper infection control is one of our priorities and this, together with prudent antibiotic prescribing, will help us control these carbapenemase-producing bacteria.

"However, to help the NHS, we have commissioned authoritative professional guidance to identify whether further control measures need to be applied for this type of bacteria."

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

    £15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

    Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

    £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

    Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

    £28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

    Day In a Page

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

    There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

    The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with excess, cynicism and greed
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map
    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
    Paris Fashion Week

    Paris Fashion Week

    Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
    A year of the caliphate:

    Isis, a year of the caliphate

    Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?