Author Archives: jason.gill

PigProgress – MRSA in Danish pigs – what can we learn?

EFSA (European Food Safety Authority – 2009) published a report on a Baseline Survey of the prevalence of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) in the EU, for 2008, in breeding holdings (producers of breeding stock) and production herds (producing weaners, growers and finishers) and found that in the Netherlands, the country that first recognised the problem in 2005, had a prevalence of 12.8% and 17.9%, respectively of the pig adapted clone of MRSA CC398. Spain had a high 46% and 50.2% prevalence, respectively, but Denmark had only 0% and… Read More →

Carnivore’s Dilemma | National Geographic

Meat is murder. Meat—especially beef—is cigarettes and a Hummer rolled into one. For the sake of the animals, our own health, and the health of the planet, we must eat less of it. Meat is delicious. Meat is nutritious. Global demand is soaring for good reason, and we must find a way to produce more of it. In short, meat—especially beef—has become the stuff of fierce debate. Link: Carnivore’s Dilemma – National Geographic.

Bacteriophage Boom? | The Scientist Magazine®

The search for alternatives to antibiotics has led many scientists to a treatment practice that’s been on the fringes of modern medicine for nearly a century. Bacteriophages—viruses that infect and kill bacteria—were first used in 1919 to treat a wide range of infections. Phage therapy fell out of favor with the advent of antibiotics; the practice has only persisted in some European countries as an experimental treatment. However, earlier this year, phage therapy was highlighted as one of seven approaches to “achieving a coordinated and nimble approach to… Read More →

Obama Administration Takes Actions to Combat Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria | The White House

Today, President Obama signed an Executive Order directing key Federal departments and agencies to take action to combat the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  The Administration also released its National Strategy on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. In addition, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) is releasing a related report on Combating Antibiotic Resistance. The Administration also announced a $20 million prize, co-sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, to facilitate the development of rapid, point-of-care diagnostic tests for… Read More →

Global antibiotic consumption 2000 to 2010: an analysis of national pharmaceutical sales data | The Lancet Infectious Diseases

The rise of antibiotic consumption and the increase in use of last-resort antibiotic drugs raises serious concerns for public health. Appropriate use of antibiotics in developing countries should be encouraged. However, to prevent a striking rise in resistance in low-income and middle-income countries with large populations and to preserve antibiotic efficacy worldwide, programmes that promote rational use through coordinated efforts by the international community should be a priority. Link: Global antibiotic consumption 2000 to 2010: an analysis of national pharmaceutical sales data | The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

2012 Annual Human Isolates Report | NARMS Reports | NARMS | CDC

Bacterial foodborne infections are common and can be serious. In severe cases, the right antibiotic, also called antimicrobial agent, can be life-saving. NARMS is the only source of national information on antibiotic resistance in foodborne pathogens like Salmonella. Understanding trends in antibiotic resistance helps doctors to prescribe effective treatment and public health officials to investigate outbreaks faster. Link: 2012 Annual Human Isolates Report | NARMS Reports | NARMS | CDC. Link: PDF of the 2012 report.

Phage therapy gets revitalized | Nature News & Comment

For decades, patients behind the Iron Curtain were denied access to some of the best antibiotics developed in the West. To make do, the Soviet Union invested heavily in the use of bacteriophages — viruses that kill bacteria — to treat infections. Phage therapy is still widely used in Russia, Georgia and Poland, but never took off elsewhere. “This is a virus, and people are afraid of viruses,” says Mzia Kutateladze, who is the head of the scientific council at the Eliava Institute in Tbilisi, which has been… Read More →

Humans and Companion Animals Harbor the Same Types of MRSA Infections

A shared population of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria circulates both in humans and companion animals, according to a study published this week in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.   “Our study demonstrates that humans and companion animals readily exchange and share MRSA bacteria from the same population,” says senior author Mark Holmes, senior lecturer in preventive veterinary medicine at the University of Cambridge in England. MRSA naturally lives on the skin and also causes difficult-to-treat infections in humans and animals. “It… Read More →

First Global Drug Resistance Overview Paints Grim Picture | Science/AAAS

The World Health Organization (WHO) presented its first-ever global attempt to assess the spread of drug resistance today—and the results are sobering. Antimicrobial resistance “threatens the achievements of modern medicine,” warns the study, which shows that high rates of resistance occur in most parts of the world. “Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill,” wrote Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s assistant director-general for health security,… Read More →

Spurious Correlations

A neat site demonstrating correlation does not equal causation. For example: US spending on science, space, and technology correlates with Suicides by hanging, strangulation and suffocation   Link: Spurious Correlations.