European Antibiotic Awareness Day Highlights Threat of Antibiotic Resistance

By Miroslav Djuric

European Antibiotic Awareness Day is an annual initiative that aims to raise awareness of the threat of antibiotic resistance to public health and animal health as well as the importance of prudent use of antibiotics.

On the occasion of the 5th European Antibiotic Awareness Day, which was marked on 18 November 2012, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has released new data demonstrating that antibiotic resistance remains a major European and global public health problem. Imprudent use of antibiotics is one of the main factors responsible for the development and increase in antibiotic resistance.

DrugssThe ECDC data show that during the last decade, there has been an increase in antibiotic consumption in the EU. Antibiotic consumption in hospitals is considered as the main source that leads to the development of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, although the vast majority of antibiotic consumption occurs in the community, i.e outside hospitals. National antibiotic consumption data are publicly available from ESAC-Net providing a basis for monitoring progress towards a more prudent use of antibiotics.

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E. coli O104: Should we believe them this time?

Sprouting peas on tweezer small

Choose your sprouts carefully

Apparently its now thought that fenugreek seeds sourced in Egypt were the cause of the recent outbreaks in Germany and France. I suggest you read today's Update on E.coli O104 outbreaks from EFSA and draw your own conclusions.

The update tells us that the particular batch of fenugreek seeds has been withdrawn from sale and a temporary ban placed on importing fenugreek and certain seeds, beans and sprouts from Egypt. In the case of the seeds, its only if these are to be sprouted. Ground spices are unaffected.

And I quote, "evidence linking the two outbreaks to the implicated batch of fenugreek seeds is not definitive and investigations are continuing in all European countries".

Germany scores own goal…its not Spanish cucumbers!

It's not cucumbers, it might be beansprouts? E. coli O104 has killed 22 people so far, made over1400 ill and reached 11 countries. It has had a significant effect on two countries- damaging Spain’s economy and damaging the credibility of the German public health system. The fallout is broader still:  the EU – and that includes us - is now offering compensation to Spanish farmers – using a central fund. 

For the bewildered public, the clue is in the name Escherichia coli…coli, Latin for intestine; for these bacteria live in the gut of man and warm-blooded animals. Unfortunately, some strains (STEC/VTEC, see Outbreak of E. coli acronyms in Germany) produce toxins that can cause severe diarrhoea, and this is always down to someone’s lack of hygiene.
Not washing hands after defecation, using a water supply contaminated with faeces to wash or water crops or poor manure preparation. It’s transmitted because poo was on your fingers or on your food and went into your mouth!

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Outbreak of E. coli acronyms in Germany

Cucumberscottbsauerusda
Germany seems to be suffering an outbreak of acronyms alongside an unusual outbreak of foodborne E. coli. Reports list the culprit as STEC, EHEC, VTEC, shiga toxin producing E. coli, verotoxin producing E. coli….They are all talking about the same thing.

Heres a quick guide to E coli diarrhoea acronyms and a summary of the outbreak plus some resources…(Photo: USDA)

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…get out of the kitchen

One of the implications of all this energy we waste to swap coffee and wheat
is that we’re giving climate change a helping hand. The contribution made by
today’s food production systems to climate change globally will have tremendous
impacts on the food it produces in the future. So this week, in a document much
less concise that Peter Baker’s BBC article, the FAO released ‘Climate
change – Implications for Food Safety
.’

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