Superbugs on the rise in Canadian hospitals
Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a division of Wyeth, and Santaris Pharma have announced that the companies have entered into a worldwide strategic alliance to discover, develop and commercialize new medicines based on Santaris Pharma’s proprietary Locked Nucleic Acid (LNA) drug platform, which allows specific targeting and regulation of microRNAs (miRNAs) and messenger RNAs (mRNAs) as a means to
Full Post: Wyeth and Santaris Pharma to collaborate on RNA-based medicines
Although infection control has been substantially ramped up in Canadian hospitals since the SARS crisis of 2003, the number of resistant bacterial infections post-SARS have multiplied even faster, a new Queen’s University study shows.
Led by Queen’s epidemiologist Dr. Dick Zoutman, the national survey is a six-year follow-up to a study that was undertaken in 1999, prior to the outbreak of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).
The original, groundbreaking study, funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada, showed that most Canadian hospitals fell seriously short in preventing patients from getting hospital infections. The researchers estimated then that about 250,000 patients a year experience infected surgical wounds, blood infections, and antibiotic-resistant organisms while in hospital - and that 8,000 of these patients will die.
Findings from the new Queen’s study - which draws on data from 2005 - will be published in the December issue of the American Journal of Infection Control .
While human resources to combat the problem have increased significantly - particularly in Ontario and Quebec - the number of hospital-acquired infections has risen even faster. “The combination of more infection control practitioners and activity, but also more bugs, hasn’t taken us where we want to be,” says Dr. Zoutman, who is director of Infection Prevention and Control at Kingston General Hospital. “We’ve made some strides, but there is still a lot to do. We’d like to see increased surveillance and control activities, which our study indicates haven’t been achieved yet.”
Since the first survey was conducted, the rates of MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus ) have more than doubled across Canada, from 2.0 to 5.2 per 1,000 hospital admissions. Another deadly bacterium, VRE (Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus ), was found in 77 per cent more hospitals in the 2005 survey than in 1999.
Although more people are working in the area of infection control today, a smaller percentage is certified, notes co-author of the study Doug Ford, a research associate with Queen’s Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine. Since certification is a two-year process, this may be the result of a lag in new personnel finishing their training, he adds.
Infection control activities in Canada have been crisis-driven, the study suggests. Both the 2003 outbreak of SARS in Ontario and the 2002-04 C. difficile crisis in Quebec spurred greater investments in acute care hospital infection control program resources and activities in those provinces. Ontario staffing levels and infection surveillance activities grew significantly between 1999 and 2005, while a comparable increase in staffing levels and infection control activities occurred in Quebec over the same period.
“Taking into account the increasing rates of antibiotic-resistant organisms and threats of avian and pandemic influenza and SARS-like epidemics, considerable additional investment in infection control resources and programming is needed in Canadian acute care hospitals,” the researchers say.
“Not making the required investments would be shortsighted and might suggest that we have already forgotten the lessons we learned from the outbreaks of SARS and C. difficile .”
Consumers Union called on hospitals today to take more aggressive steps to protect patients from Clostridium difficile (C.-diff.) infections in light of a new report showing that they are much more common than previous estimates had indicated. As the rate of hospital acquired C.-diff. infections has jumped in recent years, an increasing number of patients
Full Post: New report shows high Clostridium difficile infection rates in U.S. hospitals
The Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation (CPRF) announced today that it is joining forces with Mental Health Partnerships of Canada. This strategic alliance will create a new national mental health charity. Mental Health Partnerships of Canada (MHPC) will expand fundraising activities and develop leading research and demonstration projects in the field of mental health, mental illness
Full Post: New Canadian mental health charity announced
Following yesterday’s release of the Competition Bureau’s report, “Benefiting from Generic Drug Competition in Canada: The Way Forward,” the Ontario Pharmacists’ Association (OPA) is emphasizing that competition in the generic drugs industry is already benefiting Ontarians through accessible, high quality, cost-effective professional pharmacy care. “The current pharmacy funding model in Ontario is feasible because
Full Post: Generic drug competition benefits Ontarians
Antibacterial drug use appears to have increased at academic medical centers between 2002 and 2006, driven primarily by greater use of broad-spectrum agents and the antibiotic vancomycin, according to a report in the Nov. 10 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Using antibacterial drugs increases the risk that pathogens will
Full Post: Antibacterial drug use increases at academic medical centers
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the fourth leading cause of death in Canada. Although it is an incurable chronic disease, effective treatments exist to relieve symptoms and improve the course of the illness. The latest study by Dr. François Maltais of the H?al Laval, institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec and
Full Post: Home-based pulmonary rehabilitation