Monday 23 October 2017
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New super-bug highlights importance of infection control

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) and The Lancet have issued a press notice regarding a strand of bacteria, identified in patients in the UK, which is resistant to almost all antibiotics.
They have stated that bacteria which make up the enzyme NDM-1 are resistant to even the most powerful group of antibiotics – carbapanems. These antibiotics are usually active against bacteria which is resistant to more standard drugs.
The NDM-1 strain of bacteria has already been found in around 50 patients in the UK and scientists fear that it could infect many more. In the majority of cases, the patients had previously travelled to the Indian subcontinent and most had received hospital treatment, such as cosmetic surgery, while there.
Dr David Livermore, the director of antibiotic resistance monitoring at HPA, and the co-author of the study into NDM-1, explains: “International travel gives a great potential for spread of resistant bacteria between countries.” He also described how resistance to carbapenems is widespread in India.
Experts say that standard antibiotics have become ineffective in India because people can buy them over the counter and therefore overuse is widespread. In addition to this, many people take small doses and then discontinue treatment.
Speaking of the resistant bacteria, which has already resulted in infections being transferred from patient-to-patient, Dr David Livermore adds: “Their spread underscores the need for good infection control in hospitals both in the UK and overseas, and the need for new antibiotic development.”
A Department of Health spokesperson echoed this statement, saying: “Hospitals need to ensure they continue to provide good infection control to prevent any spread, consider whether patients have recently been treated abroad and send samples to HPA for testing.”
Although the HPA, Lancet and the Department of Health have issued a warning about the risk of infection spreading rapidly, they have also stressed that only a small number of cases have been indentified in UK hospitals and that most of these have been successfully treated using a combination of antibiotics.
Researchers have advised that hospitals can stem the spread of the new superbug by utilising normal infection control measures, such as disinfecting hospital equipment, thorough hand-washing with antibacterial soap and quickly isolating any patients who are thought to be infected.
First Response offers an Infection Control Awareness training course, which is mapped to Skills for Care Common Induction Standards and is linked to NVQ and SVQ standards. Head of Quality and Curriculum, Charlotte Potter, explains “Infection control is always vital for any health or social care environment, but developments such as this really do highlight the need to follow correct measures. It is imperative that anyone in the care environment is provided with proper training and information in the essentials of infection control.”

Call First Response TRaining 0800 310 2300