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ENGLEMED HEALTH NEWS

Untreatable bacteria investigated

Wednesday July 3rd, 2013

A major new study is set to target the harm caused by the antibiotic resistant bacteria, it was announced today.

This ESBL-positive strain of E.coli bacteria can trigger infections including urinary tract infections and blood poisoning.

The 500,000 UK pound study, by Public Health England, will look at sewage, farm slurry and raw meat to identify any potential risks to human health from these bacteria. It will also test stool samples from 20-25,000 healthy people from five different geographical areas for the presence of the bacteria.

Researchers led by Professor Neil Woodford of Public Health England explain that E. coli lives mostly harmlessly in the guts of humans and many other animals. But this type of E. coli - ESBL-positive - contains enzymes that make it resistant to most penicillin-like antibiotics. The study's findings will be used in strategies to reduce the bacteria's impact.

"The risks posed to human health by resistant E. coli from non-human reservoirs are not fully understood," said Professor Woodford. "This study will help to disentangle this complex interrelationship.

"Treatment of infections caused by resistant E. coli can be difficult, which is why we need to understand the risks better. Having said that, we want to reassure the public that presence of these bacteria in the gut does not require antibiotic treatment and is usually temporary. Most colonized people never develop an infection caused by the resistant strain.

"This study is very important because its results will help to shape future intervention strategies to reduce the spread of these antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria and to reduce the numbers of infections that they cause."

Tags: MRSA & Hygiene | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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