Weekly digest: A TB photo series, testing tap water at U.S. health facilities, and how NDM-1 challenges India's medical system

30 Mar 2012
Andrea Titus

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

Riding the wave of World TB Day last Saturday, The Guardian reports on the global spread of the disease, including multi-drug resistant strains (MDR-TB). Time releases a photo series on TB in Peru. Meanwhile, new research suggests that the combination of two existing antibiotics – meropenem and clavulanate – may be a more effective treatment for MDR-TB.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is ordered to remove penicillins and tetracyclines from the livestock sector, unless drug companies can prove that their use is safe and does not contribute to antibiotic resistance in humans.  Robert S. Lawrence explains in The Atlantic

Research conducted by the Ministry of Health in China finds nearly 80% of some bacterial samples resistant to classes of antibiotics.

This year’s World Veterinary Day (April 28th) will focus on antimicrobial resistance.

A study in the Lancet evaluates a relatively new antibiotic that appears to reduce the relapse rate for patients with C. difficile infections.

Is it safe to drink the water at U.S. healthcare facilities? Researchers at CMU are calling for mandates to regularly test tap water in hospitals for waterborne pathogens.

Are new drugs the best stopgap for antibiotic resistance?  A Dublin-based research team looks at how boosting the effectiveness of existing antibiotics may be a viable alternative, particularly as the antibiotic pipeline continues to run dry.

ABC consults with experts to come up with a list of the five riskiest “superbugs.”

A Pew survey finds that only 15% of internet users in the United States have consulted online reviews of hospitals or other facilities.  With these statistics, will sites like Hospital Compare live up to the goal of improving hospital conditions through influencing consumer decisionmaking?

In Scientific American, Maryn McKenna (of Superbug) explores the possibility that acute incidences of foodborne illness could lead to lifelong health problems.

At Edinburgh University, scientists work on a test to quickly detect the presence of MRSA bacteria in wounds and lesions.

Sonia Shah looks at NDM-1, and efforts of the Indian medical system to combat antibiotic resistance, for Foreign Affairs.

The Fiscal Times explores ambivalence around funding research to combat possible bioterror events in the United States.  On the one hand, with tightening health budgets, bioterror attacks may appear a relatively small threat.  On the other hand, could this research also provide the foundation for the development of new antibiotics or treatments for hospital infections?

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Image credit: Flickr: tim.perdue

Antibiotic Resistance