Hospital hand sanitizers not potent enough for superbug (Science)
Bacterial superbugs are becoming increasingly tolerant of alcohol, the key ingredient of the hand sanitizers used to prevent infections in many hospitals. In a study published this week in Science Translational Medicine, researchers analyzed 139 samples of Enterococcus faecium bacteria collected from two hospitals in Melbourne, Australia, between 1997 and 2015. Samples taken after 2010 were 10 times more tolerant to alcohol exposure, coinciding with the increased use of hand sanitizer in Australian hospitals after it was first introduced in the early 2000s.
A global response to E. faecium will need to include consideration of its adaptive responses not only to antibiotics but also to alcohols and the other active agents in disinfectant solutions that have become so critical for effective infection control.
The Guardian reports. The superbug is known to colonize patients’ guts, causing serious infections in the bloodstream, and is resistant to nearly all antibiotics, the scientists say.
Bacteria becoming resistant to hospital disinfectants, warn scientists (Guardian).
Hospitals will need to use new strategies to tackle bacteria experts have warned, after finding a type of hospital superbug is becoming increasingly tolerant of alcohol – the key component of current disinfectant hand rubs.
“This is a wake-up call to infection control hospital teams around the world that if you want to control the emergence of VRE you need to do more than just rely on your alcohol-based disinfectants,” said Prof Timothy Stinear, co-author of the research from the University of Melbourne
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