Superbug

Archives for June, 2010

In the winter of 1999, I stood in an outpatient clinic in a pediatric hospital in New Delhi and listened to a father sobbing over the paralysis of his only son. He was a farmer and lived in Uttar Pradesh; counting walks, minibuses and trains, it had taken him 24 hours to get to the…

There’s a troubling item in this afternoon’s issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report or MMWR: The first report in the United States of a novel resistance mechanism that renders gram-negative bacteria extremely drug-resistant and that has been linked to medical care carried out in India or Pakistan. The short item describes three…

In case anyone’s in the general vicinity of the Twin Cities this week: On Tuesday night, I’ll be discussing antibiotic use in US agriculture at Fair Food Fight Night (a regular event sponsored by the food-policy blog Fair Food Fight) with Thom Petersen of the Minnesota Farmers Union and Fair Food Fight’s proprietor, novelist and…

A set of papers published this month in two journals provide an unsettling glimpse into the rocketing incidence and complex epidemiology of one really scary pathogen, Acinetobacter baumanii. In the all-star annuals of resistant bugs, A. baumanii is an underappreciated player. If people — other than, you know, disease geeks — recognize it, that is…

The Center for Global Development, a DC think-tank, is releasing what looks like a thoughtful report aimed at refocusing policy debates over drug resistance toward the epidemic’s global impact, with particular attention to the the developing world.

Bad news: From MRSA to LRSA

Via the Journal of the American Medical Association, a report from Spain: the first recorded outbreak, in a Madrid hospital, of Staphylococcus aureus resistant to linezolid (Zyvox), one of only a few drugs still available to treat very serious infections of drug-resistant staph, MRSA. This is bad news. Background: The M in MRSA stands for…

Update: Access to dental care

A coule of days ago, I talked about the link between a potentially massive hepatitis B outbreak in West Virginia and the lack of access to primary dental care. I was mushy qualitatively descriptive, ahem, about the number of people who lack access to dental insurance. Comes now the CDC to save the day. In…

Joanne Manaster (site, Twitter) and Jeff Shaumeyer (site, Twitter) are running a Summer Science Reading Contest for kids and teens. They’re looking for science authors to contribute books as prizes. Some cool people have stepped up, including Sciblings Deborah Blum and Rebecca Skloot (and me), but they could definitely use more. C’mon, represent: Consider it…

The Subcommittee on Health of the Energy and Commerce Committee of the House of Representatives has announced a hearing for Wednesday: “Promoting the Development of Antibiotics and Ensuring Judicious Use in Humans.” The witness line-up is:

Via ProMED Mail comes a news report that about 2,000 people in 5 states are being sought by health departments so they can be checked for hepatitis B infection. The potential source: the Mission of Mercy Dental Clinic, a free dental-care fair held just about a year ago in Berkeley County in the far north-east…