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Superbugs Resistant to Disinfectants

Monday, 28 Dec 2009 08:25 AM


Using disinfectants could cause bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics as well as the disinfectant itself, according to research published in the January issue of Microbiology. The result could have implications for how the spread of infection is managed in hospitals.

Researchers from the National University of Ireland in Galway found that by adding increasing amounts of disinfectant to laboratory cultures of a bacteria called Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the bacteria could become resistant to the disinfectant as well as to ciprofloxacia— a commonly-prescribed antibiotic—even without being exposed to it.

P. aeruginosa is an opportunistic bacterium that can cause a wide range of infections in people with weak immune systems and those with diseases such as cystic fibrosis (CF) and diabetes. P. aeruginosa is an important cause of hospital-acquired infections. Disinfectants are used to kill bacteria on surfaces to prevent them from spreading. If the bacteria manage to survive and go on to infect patients, antibiotics are used to treat them. Bacteria that can resist both disinfectants and antibiotics may be a serious threat to hospital patients.

Importantly, the study showed that when very small non-lethal amounts of disinfectant were added to the bacteria in culture, the adapted bacteria were more likely to survive compared to the non-adapted bacteria. "In principle this means that residue from incorrectly diluted disinfectants left on hospital surfaces could promote the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria," said study leader Dr. Gerard Fleming in a statement. "What is more worrying is that bacteria seem to be able to adapt to resist antibiotics without even being exposed to them."

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1.7 million Americans get an infection each year as a result of a hospitalization.





© HealthDay

   
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Using disinfectants could cause bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics as well as the disinfectant itself, according to research published in the January issue of Microbiology. The result could have implications for how the spread of infection is managed in hospitals.
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2009-25-28
Monday, 28 Dec 2009 08:25 AM
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