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Antibiotic Resistance Still a Major Public Health Threat
Date:10/30/2009

isolates we evaluated, more than 30 percent demonstrated resistance to at least five classes of antibiotics, meaning that most of those isolates or most of those bacteria probably could only be treated with polymyxin, suggesting the prevalence of very highly drug-resistant gram-negative infection is on the rise in our facility," added Kessler, who is a clinical fellow in the division of infectious diseases at Columbia University in New York City.

Other infections are targeting younger people and moving from hospitals into the community and back into hospitals.

Clostridium difficile, a common hospital infection, for instance, is now hitting people who have not been in the hospital. These patients have a median age of 53, versus a median age of 70 in hospitals, said Dr. Ghinwa Dumyati, lead author of this study and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

It's not clear exactly where these community cases are coming from, but many of the people, although healthy, were taking antibiotics, suggesting that the medications "are still an important factor in the development of C. difficile in the community," Dumyati said.

Similarly, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is causing severe illness in younger, healthy people, although the infections are not resulting in either death or long hospital stays, according to another study. The fact that the patients were younger and healthier may have decreased the risk of death," said study author Dr. Fernanda Lessa, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

MRSA infections in emergency rooms have increased 211 percent between 2000 and 2008, another study found. The incidence in multi-drug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii, a gram-negative bacteria, is also on the rise, largely in the hospital, said researchers from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

On the more positi
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