UK: Superbugs used in hospitals becoming resistant to alcohol disinfectants

UK: Superbugs used in hospitals becoming resistant to alcohol disinfectants

However, scientists in Australia found strong evidence that VRE is growing increasingly immune to alcohol-based disinfectants.

VRE bugs can cause urinary tract, wound and bloodstream infections that are notoriously hard to treat, mainly because they are resistant to several classes of antibiotics.

'It only impacts the most susceptible people - so healthy people do not get VRE infections'.

"So we are using a lot and the environment is changing", he said.

The researchers traced the increased resistance to alcohol-based disinfectants to several Enterococcus mutations in genes that play a role in metabolism.

To test their theory, they developed an assay to test the tolerance of the isolates, collected from 1997 through 2015, to a solution containing 23% isopropyl alcohol.

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Their findings were published on Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine. They found the alcohol resistant strains in the mice poop and that both antibiotic-resistant and normal strains of the bacteria had the same rate of tolerance, which doesn't bode well for the future.

"Alcohol-based hand sanitizing wipes are global pillars of hospital infection control and remain very effective in reducing the transmission of other hospital superbugs, particularly MRSA", said Paul Johnson.

Alcohol-tolerant microbes were better able to colonise the guts of mice after the cages were cleaned with disinfectant wipes.

As the co-author of the study, Paul Johnson, a professor of infectious diseases at the Austin Health in Australia reported, the results should not cause a significant decrease in the regular use of alcohol disinfectants.

The findings suggest that E faecium could be adapting to alcohol-based hand rubs, which have become an integral part of standard infection control strategies in hospitals.

Stinear said health authorities should try higher-alcohol concentrate products and renew efforts to ensure hospitals are deep cleaned and patients found to be carrying VRE infections are isolated.

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