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Cleaning With Nature Looking Ahead To Global Changes

AntiBacterial Crackdown in USA

AntiBacterial Crackdown in USA

Posted on January 25, 2014 by Watcher
An estimated 75% of the anti-bacterial liquid soaps and body washes sold in the United States contain triclosan, a germ-killing ingredient. The only problem is, the Food and Drug Administration has no idea whether it actually works — and there’s some evidence it may pose health risks. [USA Today]

Consequently the FDA has “proposed rule requiring manufacturers to prove that their antibacterial cleaners are safe and more effective than plain soap and water”. That’s because when a product is promoted as killing 99.9% of germs, that’s the same result you get from soap and water. However, Antibacterial products can increase resistance in antibiotics.

The advertising used for these products makes consumers think if they wash with them they won’t get sick, said Kweder. “You’ll see pictures of people sneezing and coughing and looking pretty ill.”

But many of those images “look like people who have viral illnesses” such as the common cold, she said. Viruses are the most common cause of infections in the United States and antibacterial agents have no effect on them.

In Australia Dettol, presumably to counter the backlash they see coming, has been heavily promoting their hand wash product via Sophie’s story:

Posted in Official Responses | Leave a comment
Post-Antibiotic Might Look Like Pre-Antibiotic
Posted on January 25, 2014 by Watcher

An article at Matter looks into what we could reasonably expect when antibiotics fail en masse. It begins with the death of a fireman, less than 80 years ago:

I had always heard Joe had been injured at work: not burned, but bruised and cut when a heavy brass hose nozzle fell on him. The article revealed what happened next. Through one of the scrapes, an infection set in. After a few days, he developed an ache in one shoulder; two days later, a fever. His wife and the neighborhood doctor struggled for two weeks to take care of him, then flagged down a taxi and drove him fifteen miles to the hospital in my grandparents’ town. He was there one more week, shaking with chills and muttering through hallucinations, and then sinking into a coma as his organs failed. Desperate to save his life, the men from his firehouse lined up to give blood. Nothing worked. He was thirty when he died, in March 1938.

Penicillin-resistant staph emerged in 1940, while the drug was still being given to only a few patients. Tetracycline was introduced in 1950, and tetracycline-resistant Shigella emerged in 1959; erythromycin came on the market in 1953, and erythromycin-resistant strep appeared in 1968. As antibiotics became more affordable and their use increased, bacteria developed defenses more quickly. Methicillin arrived in 1960 and methicillin resistance in 1962; levofloxacin in 1996 and the first resistant cases the same year; linezolid in 2000 and resistance to it in 2001; daptomycin in 2003 and the first signs of resistance in 2004.

Without the protection offered by antibiotics, entire categories of medical practice would be rethought:

transplants
the use of ventilators, catheters, and ports
kidney dialysis
Caesarean sections
surgery on intestines and the urinary tract
bone marrow transplant
implantable devices
hip replacements
botox injections
liposuction
prostate biopsies
open-heart surgery
British health economists with similar concerns recently calculated the costs of antibiotic resistance. To examine how it would affect surgery, they picked hip replacements, a common procedure in once-athletic Baby Boomers. They estimated that without antibiotics, one out of every six recipients of new hip joints would die.

Antibiotics are administered prophylactically before operations as major as open-heart surgery and as routine as Caesarean sections and prostate biopsies. Without the drugs, the risks posed by those operations, and the likelihood that physicians would perform them, will change.

Medical procedures may involve a high risk of infections, but our everyday lives are pretty risky too. One of the first people to receive penicillin experimentally was a British policeman, Albert Alexander. He was so riddled with infection that his scalp oozed pus and one eye had to be removed. The source of his illness: scratching his face on a rosebush. (There was so little penicillin available that, though Alexander rallied at first, the drug ran out, and he died.)

Before antibiotics, five women died out of every 1,000 who gave birth. One out of nine people who got a skin infection died, even from something as simple as a scrape or an insect bite. Three out of ten people who contracted pneumonia died from it. Ear infections caused deafness; sore throats were followed by heart failure.

Posted in History | Leave a comment
Tuberculosis – still a major threat
Posted on January 6, 2014 by Watcher
I just came across a thoroughly interesting article from last year about a journalist who, whilst reporting on tuberculosis in Papua New Guinea, ended up catching the disease herself:

We spent some days poking around overflowing wards and diseased shanties for The Age, investigating the insidious reach of deadly, drug-resistant tuberculosis across Papua New Guinea. More than 60 per cent of the global burden of TB occurs in the Asia-Pacific region, and PNG bears some of the worst of it.

…Tuberculosis retains the distinction of being the greatest infectious killer in human history, claiming an estimated billion lives in the past 200 years. Its toll today is still second only to HIV (and it is the major killer of people with HIV). In 2011, 8.7 million people fell sick with TB.

…many are poorly nourished and dozens might share a room at night. TB thrives in such conditions.

…Some of the other children’s limbs are shrivelled, their heads misshapen and eyes vacant in a way I have come to recognise. They are survivors of TB meningitis, the infection having found its way into their brains, rotting away physical and intellectual capacity.

…TB is invisible because the people who suffer it are already on the margins, says Hewison. “They are the poor, the prisoners, alcoholics, refugees, Aboriginals, drug users, old people. And the drug companies forgot it because there is no money to be made there,”

…“Rising rates of multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB threaten global control efforts in both developing and developed countries,” The Lancet authors – Ben Marais among them – warned. The rise of drug-resistant TB and the ease of international travel means “the threat and range and spread of untreatable TB is very real …

…A chest tube is installed to drain fluid and I’m pumped with antibiotics that burn like fury as they flow through the cannulas in my wrists …I move to the Royal Melbourne Hospital where I’m put into the care of an infectious disease team and isolated… at least two years of aggressive drug treatment, including four months of intravenous drips.

———

Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) is a form of tuberculosis caused by bacteria that are resistant to some of the most effective anti-TB drugs. XDR-TB strains have arisen after the mismanagement of individuals with multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB).

One in three people in the world is infected with TB bacteria. Only when the bacteria become active do people become ill with TB. Bacteria become active as a result of anything that can reduce the person’s immunity, such as HIV, advancing age, or some medical conditions. TB can usually be treated with a course of four standard, or first-line, anti-TB drugs. If these drugs are misused or mismanaged, multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) can develop. MDR-TB takes longer to treat with second-line drugs, which are more expensive and have more side-effects. XDR-TB can develop when these second-line drugs are also misused or mismanaged and therefore also become ineffective.

XDR-TB raises concerns of a future TB epidemic with restricted treatment options, and jeopardizes the major gains made in TB control and progress on reducing TB deaths among people living with HIV/AIDS. It is therefore vital that TB control be managed properly and new tools developed to prevent, treat and diagnose the disease.

The true scale of XDR-TB is unknown as many countries lack the necessary equipment and capacity to accurately diagnose it. It is estimated however that there are around 40,000 cases per year. As of June 2008, 49 countries had confirmed cases of XDR-TB. By 2013, that number had risen to 84. [Wikipedia]

An article at Matter looks into what we could reasonably expect when antibiotics fail en masse. It begins with the death of a fireman, less than 80 years ago:

I had always heard Joe had been injured at work: not burned, but bruised and cut when a heavy brass hose nozzle fell on him. The article revealed what happened next. Through one of the scrapes, an infection set in. After a few days, he developed an ache in one shoulder; two days later, a fever. His wife and the neighborhood doctor struggled for two weeks to take care of him, then flagged down a taxi and drove him fifteen miles to the hospital in my grandparents’ town. He was there one more week, shaking with chills and muttering through hallucinations, and then sinking into a coma as his organs failed. Desperate to save his life, the men from his firehouse lined up to give blood. Nothing worked. He was thirty when he died, in March 1938.

Penicillin-resistant staph emerged in 1940, while the drug was still being given to only a few patients. Tetracycline was introduced in 1950, and tetracycline-resistant Shigella emerged in 1959; erythromycin came on the market in 1953, and erythromycin-resistant strep appeared in 1968. As antibiotics became more affordable and their use increased, bacteria developed defenses more quickly. Methicillin arrived in 1960 and methicillin resistance in 1962; levofloxacin in 1996 and the first resistant cases the same year; linezolid in 2000 and resistance to it in 2001; daptomycin in 2003 and the first signs of resistance in 2004.

Without the protection offered by antibiotics, entire categories of medical practice would be rethought:

transplants
the use of ventilators, catheters, and ports
kidney dialysis
Caesarean sections
surgery on intestines and the urinary tract
bone marrow transplant
implantable devices
hip replacements
botox injections
liposuction
prostate biopsies
open-heart surgery
British health economists with similar concerns recently calculated the costs of antibiotic resistance. To examine how it would affect surgery, they picked hip replacements, a common procedure in once-athletic Baby Boomers. They estimated that without antibiotics, one out of every six recipients of new hip joints would die.

Antibiotics are administered prophylactically before operations as major as open-heart surgery and as routine as Caesarean sections and prostate biopsies. Without the drugs, the risks posed by those operations, and the likelihood that physicians would perform them, will change.

Medical procedures may involve a high risk of infections, but our everyday lives are pretty risky too. One of the first people to receive penicillin experimentally was a British policeman, Albert Alexander. He was so riddled with infection that his scalp oozed pus and one eye had to be removed. The source of his illness: scratching his face on a rosebush. (There was so little penicillin available that, though Alexander rallied at first, the drug ran out, and he died.)

Before antibiotics, five women died out of every 1,000 who gave birth. One out of nine people who got a skin infection died, even from something as simple as a scrape or an insect bite. Three out of ten people who contracted pneumonia died from it. Ear infections caused deafness; sore throats were followed by heart failure.

Posted in History | Leave a comment
Tuberculosis – still a major threat
Posted on January 6, 2014 by Watcher
I just came across a thoroughly interesting article from last year about a journalist who, whilst reporting on tuberculosis in Papua New Guinea, ended up catching the disease herself:

We spent some days poking around overflowing wards and diseased shanties for The Age, investigating the insidious reach of deadly, drug-resistant tuberculosis across Papua New Guinea. More than 60 per cent of the global burden of TB occurs in the Asia-Pacific region, and PNG bears some of the worst of it.

…Tuberculosis retains the distinction of being the greatest infectious killer in human history, claiming an estimated billion lives in the past 200 years. Its toll today is still second only to HIV (and it is the major killer of people with HIV). In 2011, 8.7 million people fell sick with TB.

…many are poorly nourished and dozens might share a room at night. TB thrives in such conditions.

…Some of the other children’s limbs are shrivelled, their heads misshapen and eyes vacant in a way I have come to recognise. They are survivors of TB meningitis, the infection having found its way into their brains, rotting away physical and intellectual capacity.

…TB is invisible because the people who suffer it are already on the margins, says Hewison. “They are the poor, the prisoners, alcoholics, refugees, Aboriginals, drug users, old people. And the drug companies forgot it because there is no money to be made there,”

…“Rising rates of multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB threaten global control efforts in both developing and developed countries,” The Lancet authors – Ben Marais among them – warned. The rise of drug-resistant TB and the ease of international travel means “the threat and range and spread of untreatable TB is very real …

…A chest tube is installed to drain fluid and I’m pumped with antibiotics that burn like fury as they flow through the cannulas in my wrists …I move to the Royal Melbourne Hospital where I’m put into the care of an infectious disease team and isolated… at least two years of aggressive drug treatment, including four months of intravenous drips.

———

Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) is a form of tuberculosis caused by bacteria that are resistant to some of the most effective anti-TB drugs. XDR-TB strains have arisen after the mismanagement of individuals with multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB).

One in three people in the world is infected with TB bacteria. Only when the bacteria become active do people become ill with TB. Bacteria become active as a result of anything that can reduce the person’s immunity, such as HIV, advancing age, or some medical conditions. TB can usually be treated with a course of four standard, or first-line, anti-TB drugs. If these drugs are misused or mismanaged, multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) can develop. MDR-TB takes longer to treat with second-line drugs, which are more expensive and have more side-effects. XDR-TB can develop when these second-line drugs are also misused or mismanaged and therefore also become ineffective.

XDR-TB raises concerns of a future TB epidemic with restricted treatment options, and jeopardizes the major gains made in TB control and progress on reducing TB deaths among people living with HIV/AIDS. It is therefore vital that TB control be managed properly and new tools developed to prevent, treat and diagnose the disease.

The true scale of XDR-TB is unknown as many countries lack the necessary equipment and capacity to accurately diagnose it. It is estimated however that there are around 40,000 cases per year. As of June 2008, 49 countries had confirmed cases of XDR-TB. By 2013, that number had risen to 84. [Wikipedia]

Posted in Tuberculosis | Leave a comment
Klebsiella pneumoniae: warning sign
Posted on November 21, 2013 by Watcher
How’s this for a warning sign?

Doctors are warning Australians to stop travelling overseas for elective surgery, after a New Zealand man contracted a superbug that no antibiotic could treat.

Brian Pool, a 68-year-old teacher, is believed to be New Zealand’s first victim of an aggressive bacterium that experts believe he caught in Asia.

”It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a totally resistant bacterium,” said Dr Mark Jones, a clinical microbiologist at Wellington Hospital. ”Nothing would touch it.”

…Tests showed he contracted Klebsiella pneumoniae, a strain of bacteria that produce enzymes that are completely drug-resistant. ”It is likely he caught it while in India,” said Dr Jones. ”The bacterium probably became infectious after he had surgery for a hernia.”

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/national/doctors-warn-on-overseas-surgery-after-teacher-brian-pool-catches-superbug-20131120-2xvvu.html#ixzz2lHrVC6MF

Posted in Untreatable Diseases | Leave a comment
Antibiotic Failure Makes Newsweek Cover Story
Posted on October 21, 2013 by Watcher

The article starts off with the tragic story of a young girl who survives a staph infection – but only just and she will always need medical help. Ten years ago she would have survived without a scratch… but today there is only one product left that can treat this infection, and it has nasty side-effects.

As recently as a decade ago, Addie’s story would have been a shocking anomaly, the kind of case that comes along once in any doctor’s life.

But after years of futile warnings from scientists that overuse of antibiotics was causing bacteria to evolve into strains resistant to drugs, experts in the field say we have reached a tipping point, and some deadly pathogens are becoming incurable. “We are confronting one of the gravest threats to public health that we have ever faced,” said Dr. Lance Price, a professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services who specializes in studying resistant bacteria. “We are entering a place we don’t want to be, with people dying of infections that could have treated in the past.”

There are many anecdotes shared, all about people who would have been successfully treated until recently:

A few months ago, she consulted on a case of a woman suffering from a resistant bacterial infection of her gall bladder. There were no antibiotics that could treat her; with no options, the patient was sent to hospice so she could die comfortably. A plastic surgeon she knows also had a horrifying case: A knee replacement implant in a patient had collected untreatable bacteria. Doctors were forced to amputate the leg to prevent the infection from spreading any further.

It isn’t just when infections are the primary problem. Some medical procedures will become to difficult unless antibiotics can be trusted to work. It is looking like heart transplants will no longer be tenable. And worse, no more chemotherapy.

Posted in Media | Leave a comment
Cleaning Robots Reduce Infection
Posted on October 9, 2013 by Watcher

A new study conducted by infection control experts at Johns Hopkins Hospital demonstrates that patients admitted to hospital rooms decontaminated using Bioquell hydrogen peroxide vapor technology, rather than standard cleaning protocols, were significantly less likely to acquire multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs), or so-called hospital superbugs. The study is published in this month’s issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases. The Bioquell system consists of automated devices that disperse an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered sterilant into the air and onto surfaces and then convert the sterilant to a harmless state.

http://www.bioquell.com/news/johns-hopkins-study-shows-HPV-technology-reduces-patient-risk/

This automated system (i.e. robot) reduced multidrug-resistant infections by 64%, in a study lasting 30 months and involving 6350 patients. Not only does this prove how inadequately hospitals are generally cleaned, it also shows the way forward – don’t trust humans with cleanliness.

Posted in Hygiene | Leave a comment
MRSA ST398 Making Farmers Ill
Posted on May 3, 2013 by Watcher
This is from New Scientist last year:

Dosing livestock with antibiotics can be bad for farmers’ health. A strain of MRSA that causes skin infections and sepsis in farm workers evolved its resistance to antibiotics inside farm animals.

The ST398 strain of MRSA first appeared in 2003 and is prevalent in US livestock. Humans who pick it up from animals can become dangerously ill, but it cannot yet spread from human to human.

And now, according to The Daily Mail, strain ST398 is showing up in British milk:

Scientists tested 1,500 samples of bulk milk and found seven cases of MRSA ST398 from five farms in England, Scotland and Wales.

It might not be long before the sometimes deadly ST398 evolves, developing the ability to be transmitted between humans. One more tragic antibiotic fail waiting to unfold.

An educated opinion on this news can be found at Wired.com.

Note: The pasteurization process should kill MRSA, but not all milk and cheese is
pasteurized.

Posted in Agriculture | Leave a comment
Upper Respiratory Infections Do Not Need Antibiotics
Posted on April 9, 2013 by Watcher
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania investigated UK data covering over 1.5 million visits to doctors by 800,000 people with upper respiratory infections over a period of 20 years.

Just over 65% of the patients, who were all adults, received antibiotics for their infections. The patients were studied over 15 days following their first doctor visit to see how many were admitted to the hospital with pneumonia or any adverse event that might be related to the administration of the drugs, such as heart problems, liver or kidney toxicity, diarrhea and seizures.

Overall, there were 296 people admitted to the hospital with a case of pneumonia within 15 days of the initial doctor visit. That was 22 people admitted to a hospital with pneumonia for each 100,000 doctor visits if they did not receive an antibiotic – and 18 people per 100,000 who were treated with antibiotics.

Researchers said that “12,255 or more people would have to be treated with antibiotics to prevent one person from being hospitalized.” We aren’t even talking about saving lives, just saving hospitalization. Considering the harm that antibiotics do to an individual’s gut health, and the rise of super bugs, it is immediately obvious that prescribing antibiotics for upper respiratory infections should be made illegal.

But no, we’ll keep on trusting that doctors know best.

Posted in Statistics | Leave a comment
The Skin of Green-eyed Tree Frogs
Posted on March 19, 2013 by Watcher
It makes sense that some members of the animal world have their own forms of antibiotic resistance, and that some might be easy to harvest by humans, or more likely, be synthesized.

The skin of Australian Green-eyed Tree Frogs have an antimicrobial secretion that is being used to create new drugs in the war against superbugs such as Golden Staph.

Although frogs have lungs, they absorb oxygen through their skin, and for this to occur efficiently, the skin must be moist. A disadvantage of moist skin is pathogens can thrive on it, increasing the chance of infection. To counteract this, frogs secrete peptides that destroy these pathogens. The skin secretion from the green tree frog contains caerins, a group of peptides with antibacterial and antiviral properties. It also contains caerulins, which have the same physiological effects as CCK-8, a digestive hormone and hunger suppressant. Several peptides from the skin secretions of the green tree frog have been found to destroy HIV without harming healthy T-cells.
[Source: Wikipedia]

It all comes down to investigating how the ingredients of the secretions interact with cell membranes – if scientists can work that out they might be able to create more viable antibiotics. The two techniques they are utilizing are X-ray scattering and a neutron reflectometer.

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Author: naturesclean

Retired 40 years in business and marketing, currently reviewing new probiotics products. I enjoy poultry and gardening

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