Doctors collected 732 samples from 22 Irish hospitals over the last ten years and found that 61% of them, 448 samples, tested positive for bacteria that can produce an enzyme that destroys a whole family of common antibiotics including penicillins and cephalosporins.
“The ability to make these enzymes – called extended spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs) –spreads very easily between different types of bacteria”, says Dr Dearbhaile Morris from the National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland. “It lets them break down many different penicillins and cephalosporins. So the genetic ability to resist very important antibiotics often spreads with the ability to make ESBLs, and that means that doctors increasingly have to use antibiotics which in the past were held back for exceptional cases”.
During the years 2003 and 2004 a severe outbreak of cystitis, an infection of the bladder, was caused in the UK by E. coli bacteria that could produce a particular type of extended spectrum beta-lactamase enzyme. The Irish research team were trying to find out how common similar strains of antibiotic resistant bacteria are in Ireland.
“Our results showed that ESBL producing bacteria, especially of the type which caused the bladder infections in the UK outbreak, are now common in Ireland as well as in other countries in Europe. We also showed that they are not just found in hospitals but also in nursing homes and in the community”, says Dr Morris.
Although cystitis is not life threatening, it is the most common form of urinary tract infection, and the economic consequences of failing to treat an outbreak quickly and properly are considerable. The patients may get no benefit at all from treatment with common antibiotics, which means that they will feel sick for longer, miss more work or household duties, and will probably have to return to their doctor for more time consuming tests and different antibiotics, increasing the costs for the health care system. In severe infections patients may suffer serious complications if the first antibiotic given to them does not work.
“It is very important to track the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria so that doctors have the information to make a good choice of antibiotic in the early stages of infection before the lab has had time to find out exactly which type of bacteria is causing the infection and which antibiotic they can depend on to work” says Dr Dearbhaile Morris. “ESBL producing bacteria can break down several of the most commonly used antibiotics in clinical practice today so it is important that we know how common they are”.
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Graphene-based neural probes probe brain activity in high resolution
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The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
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