News
for the month of March, 2017

This is frightening- The World's most threatening superbugs ranked in new list

6th of March 2017

This is frightening

 

The World Health Organization has drawn up a list of the drug-resistant bacteria that pose the biggest threat to human health.

Top of the list are gram-negative bugs, such as E. coli, which can cause lethal bloodstream infections and pneumonia in frail hospital patients.

The list will be discussed ahead of this summer's G20 meeting in Germany.

The aim is to focus the minds of governments on finding new antibiotics to fight hard-to-treat infections.

Experts have repeatedly warned that we are on the cusp of a "post-antibiotic era", where some infections will be untreatable with existing drugs.

Common infections could then spread and kill.

Dr Marie-Paule Kieny from the WHO said antibiotic resistance was reaching "alarming proportions" and yet the drug pipeline was "practically dry".

"We are fast running out of treatment options. If we leave it to market forces alone, the new antibiotics we most urgently need are not going to be developed in time."

The WHO says there is a danger that pharmaceutical companies will develop only treatments that are easier and more profitable to make - the low-hanging fruit.

The focus should be on clinical need instead, says the WHO.

Tuberculosis was not included on the list because the search for new treatments for this infection is already being prioritised.

Experts drew up the list by looking at the current level of drug resistance, global death rates, prevalence of the infections in communities and the burden the diseases cause on health systems.

One of the infections at the top is a bacterium called Klebsiella that has recently developed resistance to a powerful class of antibiotics called carbapenems.

The US recently reported the fatal case of a woman who caught this infection which could not be treated with any of 26 different antibiotics available to her doctors.

The list:

CRITICAL

  • Acinetobacter baumannii (carbapenem-resistant) - can cause serious chest and blood infections
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa (carbapenem-resistant) - can cause serious chest and blood infections
  • Enterobacteriaceae, including Klebsiella, E. coli, Serratia, and Proteus (carbapenem-resistant, ESBL-producing strains) - can cause serious chest, blood and urine infections

HIGH PRIORITY

  • Enterococcus faecium (vancomycin-resistant) - can cause serious wound and blood infections
  • Staphylococcus aureus (methicillin-resistant, vancomycin-intermediate and resistant) - can cause serious chest, blood, urine and wound infections
  • Helicobacter pylori (clarithromycin-resistant) - infection linked to stomach ulcers
  • Campylobacter spp. (fluoroquinolone-resistant) - can cause diarrhoeal disease and bloodstream infections
  • Salmonellae (fluoroquinolone-resistant) - can cause diarrhoeal disease and blood poisoning
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae (cephalosporin-resistant, fluoroquinolone-resistant) - a sexually transmitted infection that can cause infertility and, rarely, can spread to the blood and joints

MEDIUM PRIORITY

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae (penicillin-non-susceptible) - can cause serious chest infections and meningitis as well as blood poisoning
  • Haemophilus influenzae (ampicillin-resistant) - can cause serious chest infections and meningitis as well as blood poisoning and skin and joint infections
  • Shigella spp. (fluoroquinolone-resistant) - a diarrhoeal disease that can lead to serious complications, including kidney failure

Woman dies of food poisoning after eating at Cornwall pub

6th of March 2017

A grandmother died from food poisoning after eating incorrectly prepared roast lamb at a Cornwall pub, a court has heard. 

 

Christine Morgan, 71, became violently sick after eating a set 'pensioner’s lunch' deal at the Clock & Key, Trispen, Cornwall, on 11 August 2015 and died the following day. Another diner became ill but recovered.

Cornwall Council's public protection department investigated her death and discovered poisonous Clostridium Perfringens bacteria in lamb from the pub as well as in stool and DNA samples.

The pub’s owner, Lake Inns & Leisure Ltd, pleaded guilty to service of unfit food last week (25 January) at Truro Crown Court and was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £23,836.09.

Pleaded guilty

Manager Diane Elizabeth Burrow, who prepared the lamb the weekend before it was re-heated and served to Morgan by a member of staff, also pleaded guilty and was fined £750.

The court heard there were doubts as to how adequately the lamb joint had been cooled and that there was no evidence of documented training to the member of staff that served the dish on the day.

Sentencing judge HHJ Carr said: “There is no doubt that the source of the pathogen was the food, there were clearly systematic failures in circumstances when food safety had just been allowed to drift along rather than be properly emphasised within the business.”

The court was told that Lake Inns & Leisure had previously employed a food hygiene consultant but failed to act on the advice given. 

'Tragic case'

Cornwall Council senior environmental health officer Timothy Bage said: “This is a tragic case in which a man has lost his wife, a couple have lost their livelihood and the pub company its reputation.

“There are key hygiene messages here that encapsulate the failings of the food business operators – we urge [operators] to treat boned and rolled joints differently than whole meat joints, we encourage them to cool quickly and thoroughly using active cooling techniques, and we want them to reheat the food properly.”

Morgan’s death was “wholly avoidable”, he said.

Shanghai Restaurants Install See-Through Kitchens To Improve Food Safety

14th of March 2017

Should we be doing this more in the UK? Or would CCTV cameras with screens in the restaurant suffice?

More than 2,000 restaurants in Shanghai have installed see-through kitchens in a bid to improve food safety, a media report said.

In these restaurants, a piece of glass separates the kitchen from the dining area so that both diners and regulators have a clear idea of what is going on behind the scenes, the People's Daily said in the report on Monday.