New antibiotic-resistant infections could kill 80,000 Britons in a single outbreak
An outbreak of a drug-resistant infection caused by new superbugs could kill up to 80,000 people in the UK alone, according to a UK Government report.
Some 200,000 people would be infected by a widespread bacterial blood infection that is resistant to existing drugs, says the report.
The report warns:
“An increasingly serious issue is the development and spread of AMR (antimicrobial resistance), which occurs when drugs are no longer effective in treating infections caused by micro-organisms.
“Without effective antibiotics, even minor surgery and routine operations could become high-risk procedures, leading to increased duration of illness and ultimately premature mortality.
“Much of modern medicine (for example, organ transplantation, bowel surgery and some cancer treatments) may become unsafe due to the risk of infection. In addition, influenza pandemics would become more serious without effective treatments.”
Influenza pandemics would become more serious without effective treatments, the report says.
“If a widespread outbreak were to occur, we could expect around 200,000 people to be affected by a bacterial blood infection that could not be treated effectively with existing drugs, and around 80,000 of these might die.
“High numbers of deaths could also be expected from other forms of antimicrobial resistant infection.”
Antibiotic-resistant infections kill about 25,000 people die annually across Europe each year.
U.S. Travel Concerns
More than two million people in the U.S. are infected by drug-resistant superbugs every year, and at least 23,000 die of related infections, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
CDC recently reported that international travelers were bringing back and spreading a drug-resistant bacteria called shigella sonnei in the US.
Shigellosis is an acute infection of the intestine caused by Shigella bacteria. There are 4 species of Shigella: Shigella dysenteriae, S. flexneri, S. boydii, and S. sonnei (also referred to as group A, B, C, and D, respectively), said CDC.
[S. sonnei strain UCN59, which causes bloody diarrhea and fever, has been found to be
resistant to ampicillin, trimethoprim, sulfonamides, and cotrimoxazole but susceptible to quinolones, third-gen-eration cephalosporins, and doxycycline, said a report.]
Shigellosis is an infectious disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella. CDC
Transmission occurs via the fecal-oral route, through direct person-to-person contact, or indirectly through contaminated food, water, or fomites. As few as 10 organisms can cause infection. Only humans and higher primates carry Shigella. In the United States, S. sonnei infection is usually transmitted through interpersonal contact, particularly among young children in day care settings. Foodborne outbreaks have been linked to contaminated foods commonly consumed raw, as well as infected food handlers. Outbreaks have also been traced to contaminated drinking water, swimming in contaminated water, and sexual contact between men.
Worldwide, Shigella is estimated to cause up to 165 million cases of disease and 600,000 deaths annually. Shigella spp. are endemic in temperate and tropical climates. Transmission of Shigella spp. is most likely when hygiene and sanitation are insufficient. Shigellosis is predominantly caused by S. sonnei in industrialized countries, whereas S. flexneri prevails in the developing world. Infections caused by S. boydii are uncommon. S. dysenteriae is even more uncommon, but makes up ≥25% of all Shigella spp. isolated in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Shigella spp. are detected in the stools of 5%–18% of patients with travelers’ diarrhea. In a FoodNet study of travel-associated enteric infections diagnosed after return to the United States, Shigella was the third most common bacterial pathogen isolated by clinical laboratories (of note, these laboratories do not test for enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, a common cause of travelers’ diarrhea). Most infections caused by S. dysenteriae were travel-associated (56%). Many infections caused by S. boydii (44%) were acquired while traveling, but infections caused by S. flexneri and S. sonnei were less often associated with travel (24% and 12%, respectively). Risk of infection caused by Shigella spp. is highest for people traveling to Africa, followed by Central America, South America, and Asia.