Hospitals are accelerating the spread of bacteria that are so resistant to antibiotics that they are almost incurable, scientists have warned.
Researchers looked at samples of antibiotic-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria, which can cause pneumonia and meningitis, in hospitals throughout Europe.
They found that the number of people who died of these super-bacterial infections was six times higher in 2015 than in 2007, with more than 2,000 deaths.
And strains of the bacteria were very similar between hospitals in the same countries, but different from those in other countries.
This suggests, they said, that hospitals and national health services promote the growth of deadly insects in their own country.
It is after recent research in the UK has shown that hospital dresses from the NHS harbor harbor antibiotic-resistant bacteria and even bleaching may not get rid of them.
Scientists discovered that antibiotic-resistant strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria (photo) form in genetically different enclaves in hospitals and health services in Europe
Scientists from the Wellcome Sanger Institute near Cambridge and the University of Freiburg in Germany conducted the research.
In an analysis of 2,000 samples of the K. pneumoniae bacteria, they discovered that many were resistant to a class of antibiotics called carbapenems.
Carbapenems are powerful antibiotics that are used for serious infections and are often reserved for bacteria that are known to be resistant to other drugs.
They are last drugs and, if they do not work, doctors have few options.
An inability to treat K. pneumoniae poses a serious health threat because the bacteria can cause pneumonia, wound infections or meningitis.
The similarities between tribes in hospitals and countries, but their difference with tribes from other countries with the same resistance, led the researchers to believe that the bacteria thrive and are spread in hospitals.
& # 39; Our findings imply that hospitals are the main facilitator of transmission & # 39 ;, said Dr. Sophia David.
& # 39; More than half of the samples with a carbapenemase gene were closely related to others collected in the same hospital, suggesting that the bacteria spread from person to person, especially in hospitals. & # 39;
HOW DO ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANT BACTERIA COME IN OUR FOOD?
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are bacteria that are strong enough to survive treatment with previously effective drugs.
Exposure to antibiotics in small quantities or when there is no infection increases the risk that bacteria get used to the medicine.
Farm animals kept to produce meat sometimes receive antibiotics, many of which are the same as those used to treat humans, to make them grow faster.
In a natural environment, animals would be exposed to bacteria and then use energy to fight infection and build up immunity.
Antibiotics eliminate the need for this immune response by immediately killing bacteria, which means that more of the animal's energy can be used to make the body grow bigger. That is why the farmer gets more meat.
However, bacteria become resistant to these antibiotics because they are constantly exposed to them, which means that the antibiotic-resistant bacteria – the superugs – accumulate in the animal.
These are then passed on to the human food chain when the animals are slaughtered and sold as meat, or in their milk or if their manure is used to fertilize farms.
Antibiotic resistance is believed to be driven by the excessive use of antibiotics and their presence in the environment.
The more time bacteria are exposed to low, non-lethal doses of the drugs, the more they can evolve to cope with and resist the drugs.
The World Health Organization says antibiotic resistance is one of the most serious threats to human health and one-day infections could become fatal one day.
Research by Wellcome and Freiburg showed that in 2015, 2,097 people died of carbapenem-resistant K.pneumoniae in 2015.
This was a sixfold increase in the 341 deaths in 2007.
They looked at samples of bacteria from 244 hospitals across the continent and examined their genetic material to find signs of resistance.
When antibiotics stop working, physicians have no other options for treating antibiotic infections and can become fatal.
Babies, the elderly and people with a weak immune system due to a serious illness are most at risk.
The team said that hospitals could help the spread of bacteria because the broad use of antibiotics made strains mutate faster.
Recent research has shown that hospital dresses in the UK still harbor antibiotic-resistant bacteria even after they have been disinfected with chlorine.
Hardened strains of Clostridium difficile (C.diff), which cause diarrhea and vomiting, were found on coats washed in accordance with NHS protocols.
Experts call for more to be done to control the spread of bacteria and to reduce infections.
Professor Hajo Grundmann of Freiburg said: & # 39; We are optimistic that with good hospital hygiene, including early identification and isolation of patients carrying these bacteria, we can not only delay the spread of these pathogens, but we can also successfully combat them.
& # 39; This research highlights the importance of infection control and ongoing genomic surveillance of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to ensure that we detect new resistant strains early and combat the spread of antibiotic resistance. & # 39;
The newspaper was published in the magazine Nature Microbiology.
WHAT IS ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE?
Antibiotics have been dispensed unnecessarily by general practitioners and hospital staff for decades, so that once harmless bacteria are supplied with super poison.
The World Health Organization has warned earlier if nothing is done, the world was moving towards a & # 39; post-antibiotic & # 39; era.
It claimed that common infections, such as chlamydia, will become murderers without immediate answers to the growing crisis.
Bacteria can become resistant to medicines when people take the wrong doses of antibiotics, or they are distributed unnecessarily.
Chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies claimed in 2016 that the threat of antibiotic resistance is just as serious as terrorism.
Figures estimate that superugs will kill ten million people every year by 2050, with patients succumbing to once harmless insects.
About 700,000 people die every year as a result of drug-resistant infections, including tuberculosis (TB), HIV and malaria around the world.
There have been repeated concerns that drugs will be returned to the & # 39; dark ages & # 39; if antibiotics will no longer be effective in the coming years.
In addition to the fact that existing drugs are becoming less effective, only one or two new antibiotics have been developed in the last 30 years.
In September, the World Health Organization warned that antibiotics were running out & # 39; because in a report a & # 39; serious defect & # 39; new drugs in the development pipeline.
Without antibiotics, caesarean sections, cancer treatments and hip replacements, it would also be incredibly risky & # 39; was said at the time.
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