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Study: One in 12 Canadians have a superbug

May 15, 2013

TORONTO — The first national survey to determine the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant organisms has revealed that one in 12 adults in hospitals across Canada are either colonized or infected with a superbug, according to the Vancouver Sun.

The survey looked at rates of infection or colonization in patients from three bacterial microbes that are known to be immune to the killing effects of most or all antibiotics, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE) and Clostridium difficile (C. diff), the article stated.

According to the article, findings from the survey, conducted in November 2010 and published Monday in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, provide a snapshot of superbug prevalence in Canada, but also suggest which measures seem to help reduce their spread.

"Number one, there's no doubt that antibiotic use drives the development of antibiotic resistance. So one factor is how antibiotics are used, both in the community and in hospital settings, and also in the agricultural and veterinary sections as well. So it's the cumulative antibiotic utilization that is still at substantially high levels that drives resistance,” said principal researcher Dr. Andrew Simor, head of infectious diseases at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, explaining that overuse of antibiotics can wipe out susceptible bacterial strains, allowing resistant strains to proliferate.

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