Weekly digest: New antimicrobial guidance from FDA, pink slime and E. coli, and resistance in ancient cave bacteria

13 Apr 2012
Authors:
Andrea Titus

A round-up of news on drug resistance and other topics in global health.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issues a strong statement about the linkages between animal antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance, and urges the agricultural industry to voluntarily comply with guidelines to use antimicrobials only for medically necessary purposes (i.e. not for growth promotion).  The New York Times describes the announcement and reactions from the stewardship community.

Aaron Carroll at The Incidental Economist is skeptical that a recent, widely hyped set of recommendations, including a recommendation against antibiotics for sinus infections, will actually impact physician behavior.

A New York Times opinion piece discusses the origins of pink slime in U.S. factory farmed-beef, looking at the connection between farming practices and E. coli.

Health and Human Services proposes a one-year delay in implementing the ICD-10 coding system, which increases the number of billing codes from 18,000 to 140,000. A Wonkblog post examines the tradeoffs for increased specificity in administrative coding.

A study in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology finds robotic drug dispensers contaminated with resistant bacteria.

Research in BMC-Infectious Diseases explains a third category of healthcare-associated bloodstream infections, distinct from hospital acquired and community acquired infections.

Bacteria in a 4-million year old cave show resistance to natural and synthetic antibiotics.  The study was published in PLoS ONE.

A retrospective study of drug-resistant E. coli in the U.S. from 1950 to 2002 finds significant increases in resistance levels in both humans and food animals.

An editorial in BMJ suggests that public-private partnerships could be the future of antibiotic drug development.

Researchers look at how to better target vaccines for population subgroups.

A Vital Signs report finds that 94% of Clostridium difficile infections were associated with receiving healthcare.

In India, the Union Health Ministry sets specific timeframes to keep animals and fish off antibiotics before they enter the human food chain. 

A new MRSA study in PLoS Pathogens suggests that as Staphylococcus aureus acquires drug resistance it also becomes less virulent.

Finally, Timothy Goetz of Wired magazine takes you through a history of mapping infectious diseases (YouTube).

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Image credit: Flickr: chiiidem