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Weekly Digest: Antibiotics may accelerate bacterial reproduction; Drug-resistant malaria appears in U.K.

Weekly Digest: Antibiotics may accelerate bacterial reproduction; Drug-resistant malaria appears in U.K.

A weekly roundup of news on drug resistance and other topics in global health.   

ResistanceMap Blog: Successful public policy against MRSA in the U.K. Research Analyst Anna Trett, in the first of the new CDDEP series, finds evidence of successful public policy leading to the rapid decline of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) rates in the United Kingdom. ResistanceMap data in graphical form illustrate the decline of MRSA in the United Kingdom, while rates in the United States remained high, from 1999 through 2015. The new series will appear monthly, highlighting findings from ResistanceMap, a web-based collection of data visualization tools allowing interactive exploration of antimicrobial resistance and antibiotic use trends across the globe. Recently updated, ResistanceMap now includes antibiotic consumption data from 75 countries and resistance data from 49 countries, including the United States, Canada, more than 30 European countries and an expanding number of low- and middle-income countries. [CDDEP]

Drug-resistant malaria appears in the U.K. Resistance to artemisinins, the backbone of first-line malaria treatment, has been developing in Southeast Asia and West Africa. Artemisinin resistance has now been documented in four travelers returning to the United Kingdom from four different African countries, as reported in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. The extent of artemisinin resistance globally is not fully characterized, but Dr. Colin Sutherland of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine writes, “Because [U.K.] patients were living in a country where we don’t have malaria, we knew it had to be the same parasites that weren’t adequately treated the first time around.” If people get sick in Africa, “it’s difficult to determine if maybe they just got another mosquito bite.” However, the appearance of resistant malaria in the United Kingdom is strong evidence that it exists more widely than previously known. [AACNPRCIDRAP]

Antibiotics may accelerate bacterial reproduction, according to researchers from the University of Exeter, with findings published in Ecology & Evolution. After exposing Escherichia coli to eight rounds of antibiotic treatment with doxycycline, researchers found that the bacteria not only became increasingly resistant, but reproduced faster and grew populations three times larger than before encountering the antibiotic. According to lead author Prof. Robert Beardmore, their findings suggest there could be added benefits for bacteria as they evolve resistance. Dr. Carlos Reding theorizes, “Our best guess is that losing viral DNA [during rapid DNA change] stops the E. coli destroying itself, so we see more bacterial cells growing once the increase in pump DNA allows them to resist the antibiotic in the first place.” [Ecol & Evol, press release]

ECDC report: Antibiotic resistance rising in Europe, to broad-spectrum antibiotics and multidrug combinations. The European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network (EARS-Net) annual report warns of increasing resistance in Escherichia coli, the most frequent cause of urinary tract and bloodstream infections in Europe, and Klebsiella pneumoniae, the most frequent cause of urinary, respiratory and bloodstream infections in healthcare settings. The report, from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) includes 2015 data from 29 countries and trend analyses for 2012-2015. At the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) level, the combined resistance to fluoroquinolones, third-generation cephalosporins, and aminoglycosides rose in E. coli isolates from 4.9 percent in 2012 to 5.3 percent in 2015, and in K. pneumoniae isolates from 17.7 percent in 2012 to 18.6 percent in 2015. [CIDRAPECDC]

Proposed global treaty to reduce antimicrobial use in livestock: The Center for Global Development makes the case for a global treaty for the reduction of antimicrobial use in livestock and outlines the framework for a treaty, involving key countries accounting for the majority of global antibiotic use in farm animals. The authors write, “Due to a number of unknowns including acceptable usage levels and limited data availability on current use, the treaty will need to be designed from the outset to bring in new members, adjust targets as new information and alternatives become available, and provide appropriate incentive mechanisms. Due to the urgency of the threat, however, the first steps towards treaty-making should begin now.” [CGD]

Airline travel as a disease vector. A comment in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, “Guidelines, law, and governance: disconnects in the global control of airline-associated infectious diseases,” highlights the increasing impact of airline travel on the epidemiology of infectious diseases and emphasizes the need for enforceable infection control measures for air travel. [Lancet ID]

Webinar: Building Cross-Sector Collaborations to Promote Effective Antibiotic Use in Inpatient, Outpatient, and Long-Term Care Settings. On February 7, the Public Health Foundation (PHF) will hold a webinar with a focus on building collaborations between public health and healthcare to develop antibiotic stewardship programs and promote effective antibiotic use. Register at: [PHF]

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