In this file:
· NYT: A Mysterious Infection, Spanning the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy
No need’ to tell the public ...
· New York has highest number of antibiotic resistant fungus cases
… deemed a “serious global health threat" by the Centers for Disease Control…
· NRDC: NYT Superbug Series Underscores Meat Industry Need to Act
... the U.S. beef and pork industries account for 78% of all medically important antibiotics sold for use in livestock – and about 50% more of these precious medicines than are used in humans. As the largest users, we call on the beef and pork industries to change course...
A Mysterious Infection, Spanning the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy
The rise of Candida auris embodies a serious and growing public health threat: drug-resistant germs.
By Matt Richtel and Andrew Jacobs, The New York Times (NYT)
April 6, 2019
Last May, an elderly man was admitted to the Brooklyn branch of Mount Sinai Hospital for abdominal surgery. A blood test revealed that he was infected with a newly discovered germ as deadly as it was mysterious. Doctors swiftly isolated him in the intensive care unit.
The germ, a fungus called Candida auris, preys on people with weakened immune systems, and it is quietly spreading across the globe. Over the last five years, it has hit a neonatal unit in Venezuela, swept through a hospital in Spain, forced a prestigious British medical center to shut down its intensive care unit, and taken root in India, Pakistan and South Africa.
Recently C. auris reached New York, New Jersey and Illinois, leading the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to add it to a list of germs deemed “urgent threats.”
The man at Mount Sinai died after 90 days in the hospital, but C. auris did not. Tests showed it was everywhere in his room, so invasive that the hospital needed special cleaning equipment and had to rip out some of the ceiling and floor tiles to eradicate it.
“Everything was positive — the walls, the bed, the doors, the curtains, the phones, the sink, the whiteboard, the poles, the pump,” said Dr. Scott Lorin, the hospital’s president. “The mattress, the bed rails, the canister holes, the window shades, the ceiling, everything in the room was positive.”
C. auris is so tenacious, in part, because it is impervious to major antifungal medications, making it a new example of one of the world’s most intractable health threats: the rise of drug-resistant infections.
For decades, public health experts have warned that the overuse of antibiotics was reducing the effectiveness of drugs that have lengthened life spans by curing bacterial infections once commonly fatal. But lately, there has been an explosion of resistant fungi as well, adding a new and frightening dimension to a phenomenon that is undermining a pillar of modern medicine.
“It’s an enormous problem,” said Matthew Fisher, a professor of fungal epidemiology at Imperial College London, who was a co-author of a recent scientific review on the rise of resistant fungi. “We depend on being able to treat those patients with antifungals.”
Simply put, fungi, just like bacteria, are evolving defenses to survive modern medicines.
Yet even as world health leaders have pleaded for more restraint in prescribing antimicrobial drugs to combat bacteria and fungi — convening the United Nations General Assembly in 2016 to manage an emerging crisis — gluttonous overuse of them in hospitals, clinics and farming has continued.
Resistant germs are often called “superbugs,” but this is simplistic because they don’t typically kill everyone. Instead, they are most lethal to people with immature or compromised immune systems, including newborns and the elderly, smokers, diabetics and people with autoimmune disorders who take steroids that suppress the body’s defenses.
Scientists say that unless more effective new medicines are developed and unnecessary use of antimicrobial drugs is sharply curbed, risk will spread to healthier populations. A study the British government funded projects that if policies are not put in place to slow the rise of drug resistance, 10 million people could die worldwide of all such infections in 2050, eclipsing the eight million expected to die that year from cancer.
In the United States, two million people contract resistant infections annually, and 23,000 die from them, according to the official C.D.C. estimate. That number...
‘No need’ to tell the public ...
Coming to America ...
The role of pesticides? ...
Resistance and denial ...
more, including links, maps
New York has highest number of antibiotic resistant fungus cases
By Charlie Diaz, New York Daily News
Apr 07, 2019
A potentially fatal superbug fungus that’s resistant to antibiotics has the highest number of U.S. outbreaks in New York — and was recently deemed a “serious global health threat" by the Centers for Disease Control.
Out of all 587 confirmed cases of the Candida Auris fungus in the U.S. since Feb. 28, 309 of them were in New York State alone, according to the CDC. Many of those cases were in New York City.
“In some patients, this yeast can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, causing serious invasive infections,” the CDC states on its website. People who spend long periods of time in hospitals, use catheters or have consumed antibiotics or antifungal medications are the most at risk, according to the agency.
The bug — which can kill within 90 days — also targets people with weakened immune systems including senior citizens and babies.
Last May, an elderly man admitted to the Brooklyn branch of Mount Sinai Hospital for abdominal surgery died after testing positive for the fungus.
The superbug is also sweeping through countries worldwide...
NYT Superbug Series Underscores Meat Industry Need to Act
David Wallinga, MD, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
April 08, 2019
Overuse of our most precious medicines is killing us. And much of that overuse has been and continues to be in industrialized agriculture. That’s one upshot of this weekend’s “Deadly Germs, Lost Cures” series in The New York Times on a worsening, global crisis due to drug-resistant, aka “superbug,” infections.
It’s a crisis claiming tens of thousands of American deaths each year—at least. New estimates put the figure at up to 162,044 people who die from these antibiotic-resistant infections alone—more than seven times CDC’s previous estimates—which would make it the third leading cause of death in the U.S., behind heart disease and cancer. But researchers warn even that figure is likely conservative. And this doesn't even take into account the risks posed by fungal infections resistant to antifungal drugs.
As the Times reports, one particularly nasty kind of yeast infection has emerged, caused by Candida auris, that sometimes resists treatment with all three major classes of anti-fungal drugs. In Chicago, half of the residents at some nursing homes have tested positive for it. Based on its limited experience to date, the CDC reports that 30% to 60% of patients with C. auris infections may die.
We have always lived in a world surrounded by bacteria and fungi. What’s different about today’s world is that we also have flooded our common environment with anti-bacterial and anti-fungal drugs. Generally speaking, this practice creates a microscopic ecosystem where the most drug-resistant strains of bacteria and fungus are the ones best-equipped to thrive, multiply and out compete their microbial competitors. Superbugs like these don’t necessarily affect healthy people in their prime, but can be deadly for infants, the elderly and others with immature or compromised immune systems.
For decades, the United States has promoted an industrial form of agriculture that routinely uses pharmaceuticals, like antifungals and antibiotics, on crops and in fed to livestock. As mentioned in the New York Times story, azoles are one class of antifungals widely applied to food crops, including potatoes, beans, wheat, tomatoes, onions, and many more, and are a virtual copy of front line medicines used to treat human fungal infections, such as itraconazole. And more antibiotics are sold for use in raising pigs and cattle in the U.S. than are sold for treating sick people (nearly 50% more, actually). These precious medicines are routinely and intensively fed to herds of pigs and cows that aren’t sick, ostensibly to ward off problems created by the crowded, often unsanitary, conditions under which those animals are being raised.
Secrecy is one feature of the superbug epidemic we can no longer afford. The Times quotes numerous physicians bemoaning hospitals that place their own reputation above the public interest in making people more aware of the human toll that superbugs are wreaking within their walls.
Similarly, neither U.S. farm producers, the USDA or the FDA have shown any inclination towards leadership by divulging specifics about how often and in what amounts antibiotics and antifungals are actually being used at the farm level. Arguably, the lack of transparency is as much a driver of the ongoing crisis in superbug infections.
Together, the U.S. beef and pork industries account for 78% of all medically important antibiotics sold for use in livestock – and about 50% more of these precious medicines than are used in humans. As the largest users, we call on the beef and pork industries to change course...
more, including links