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Sunday 27th May 2018

Rise in antibiotic resistance

10th September 2008

Experts from the Health Protection Agency say that the rise in antibiotic resistance is reaching worrying levels.


The HPA wants the NHS to take greater care over the use of antibiotic drugs and has also urged the pharmaceutical industry to look at developing new drugs.

While MRSA has been a major focus, the HPA warns that other infections are now posing a threat.

The concern is over the two main families of bacteria known as Gram-positive - which includes MRSA - and Gram-negative.

Gram-negative included E coli and other less common bacteria such as Pseudomonas.

Figures already reveal that 12% of bloodstream infections by E coli in England, Wales and Northern Ireland now showing signs of not responding to drugs.

Data from the HPA shows that there are about 20,000 bloodstream infections of E coli each year.

While drugs have been developed to combat MRSA-type infections, less has been done to develop antibiotics against Gram-negative bacteria.

But there are also warnings of over-use of antibiotics.

HPA infections expert Dr David Livermore said: "The NHS must be careful over its use of antibiotics to slow down the development of resistance.

"Hospitals must make sure they use the right dose, for the right length of time. GPs should not prescribe - nor patients expect - antibiotics for routine coughs and colds.”

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry said drug firms were working hard to develop new antibiotics and a spokesman said the industry was supporting the work of the Infectious Disease Research Network.


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