Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rapid flu tests may reduce threat of antibiotic resistance

24.01.2007
New tests to rapidly detect the flu are allowing doctors to cut down on the number of hospital patients who receive antibiotics, helping soften the rapidly worsening threat of antibiotic resistance, according to a study to appear in the Feb. 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. The study was posted online by the journal Jan. 22 because of the importance of the findings to public health.

The research was done by infection control experts at Rochester General Hospital in Rochester, N.Y., who are on the faculty at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

"I was pleasantly surprised by the results," said Ann Falsey, M.D., who led the study. "Rapid testing does give physicians evidence to discontinue antibiotics, and some physicians are responding to the evidence.

Falsey's team analyzed the records of 166 patients who definitely had the flu when hospitalized. Eighty-six of the patients tested positive with the rapid test, which gives an answer within minutes, while the 80 others either did not have the rapid test done, or they tested negative at the time but were later found to have the flu. The team checked the subsequent treatment to see if there was a difference in the use of antibiotics, which aren't effective or useful against viruses like the flu.

They found that 86 percent of the patients whose flu was confirmed early on were treated with antibiotics, compared to 99 percent of the patients whose flu wasn't identified immediately. It's not a huge difference in numbers, but the study showed that the difference is significant, demonstrating that the rapid test does reduce the use of antibiotics in the hospital.

"At least some proportion of doctors is willing to stop antibiotics when patients have a documented viral infection," said Falsey. "This is certainly encouraging, but there is a lot more work to do."

The issue is important, says Falsey, because the over-use of antibiotics makes patients and the community more vulnerable to dangerous microbes resistant to most treatments. It's particularly important in hospitals, where people most prone to infection are treated.

Yet, Falsey noted in the study that 61 percent of patients who were generally at low risk for bacterial infection continued to receive antibiotics. She says that the prescription of antibiotics to patients with a viral infection is often done by doctors who believe that their patient may also have a bacterial infection or that antibiotics will prevent subsequent bacterial infections that could occur while the person is weak with the flu or another virus. In the current study, for instance, those patients with the flu who were still receiving antibiotics tended to be older, smokers, and have breathing difficulties. In other words, they were the ones most vulnerable to such an infection.

Nevertheless, Falsey notes that there have been no studies proving that such a practice is effective at preventing infections.

"Doctors are trying to do the right thing by their patients. Sometimes they perceive antibiotics as the safest choice, even though a virus may be the cause of their patient's illness," said Falsey, noting that 90 percent of people with the flu who see a doctor are given antibiotics, even though the drugs won't help.

The simplest solution to antibiotic resistance would be for doctors to not prescribe antibiotics when they're unlikely to help, such as when a patient definitely has the flu, the common cold, or most cases of sore throat. But when patients don't feel well, many march into their doctor's office expecting an answer and feel neglected if they don't receive a prescription in return for their visit. That leaves doctors caught between prescribing medication that probably won't help, vs. appearing unhelpful to their patients.

"Oftentimes people get sick, they just want to feel better, and they assume there is a pill that will make them better quickly," said Falsey. "Unfortunately, that's not the case for many respiratory illnesses that are caused by viruses. Instead they should rest, drink plenty of fluids, and take over-the-counter medications to help ease their symptoms. But many patients don't want to hear that, and it can be difficult for a doctor to deliver the news."

Tom Rickey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.urmc.rochester.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study tracks inner workings of the brain with new biosensor
16.08.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Foods of the future
15.08.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>