September 22, 2014

E. coli ST 131 Poses Threat to Elderly in Hospitals And Nursing Homes

An antibiotic resistant strain of E.coli poses a particular threat to elderly patients at hospitals and nursing homes, according to a study published in the April edition of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. The peer-reviewed journal is the official publication of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA).

hospitalfoodE.coli is a bacteria that lives in the intestines of animals and can cause severe illness when transmitted via the fecal-oral route to humans. Symptoms include sever abdominal cramps and diarrhea which can sometimes be bloody. Antibiotics are often used to treat E.coli infections, but increasingly E.coli strains  are developing resistance.

In this study, researchers analyzed 299 E. coli isolates submitted to Olmsted County, MN laboratories between February and March 2011. The E. coli strain ST131 accounted for 27 percent of all isolates and for a significant proportion of the strains that showed resistance to antibiotics commonly used to treat E.coli infections.  E.coli ST 131 accounted for 81 percent of the isolates resistant to strains fluoroquinolones, 50 percent of of those resistant to ceftriaxone  and 42 percent of those resistant to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole.

Researchers found that the strain accounted for a greater proportion of healthcare-associated isolates, 49 percent, than other isolates. And that the prevalence of the strain increased with age accounting for just 5 percent of isolates found in 11–20 year-olds, in 26 percent of those between the ages of 51–60 and in 50 percent of those between 91–100 years of age.

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