Becker's Clinical Quality & Infection Control


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4 INFECTION CONTROL 1 in 8 deaths tied to bacterial infections, global study finds By Mackenzie Bean B acterial infections accounted for nearly 14 percent of deaths globally in 2019, trailing heart disease as the world's second- leading cause of death, according to a study published Nov. 21 in e Lancet. Researchers estimated deaths associated with 33 bacterial species using data and methods from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors Study, a comprehensive research effort led by the University of Washington School of Medicine's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle. e data covered bacterial deaths reported in 2019 across 204 countries and territories. An estimated 7.7 million people died from a bacterial infection in 2019, representing 13.6 percent of all global deaths and 56.2 percent of all sepsis-related deaths. e following five pathogens were responsible for 54.9 percent of deaths: • Staphylococcus aureus • Escherichia coli • Streptococcus pneumoniae • Klebsiella pneumoniae • Pseudomonas aeruginosa "ese new data for the first time reveal the full extent of the global public health challenge posed by bacterial infections," Christopher Murray, MD, study co-author and director of IHME, said in a Nov. 21 news release. "It is of utmost importance to put these results on the radar of global health initiatives so that a deeper dive into these deadly pathogens can be conducted and proper investments are made to slash the number of deaths and infections." n C. difficile has a secret ally, researchers find By Mariah Taylor C hildren's Hospital of Philadelphia researchers found that Enterococcus, an antibiotic-resistant pathogen, works with Clostridioides difficile, or C. diff, to change the metabolic environment in the gut so C. diff can thrive, Science Daily reported Nov. 16. C. diff is a bacteria that causes severe intestinal illness; it is difficult to study and treat. Approximately 1 in 6 patients infected with C. diff will be reinfected within two months. The study, published in Nature, analyzed stool samples from 54 pediatric patients infected with C. diff. Researchers found these patients had high levels of Enterococcus and established a positive correlation between enterococcal and C. diff burdens. "When we talk about bacterial infections, we often just think of the pathogen itself, but the 'bystanders' in the gut can have a huge impact on the course of infection," senior author Joseph Zackular, PhD, investigator and assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, told Science Daily. "This study reveals that the coincidence of two pathogenic organisms — Enterococcus and C. difficile — is more than a coincidence; they truly take advantage of each other. Understanding this relationship, as well as other factors that contribute to clinical outcomes of C. difficile infection, is essential for combating this urgent public health challenge." n Illness-causing fungi spreading across US By Mariah Taylor R esearchers found more than 10 percent of fungal infections are diagnosed outside regions where the pathogens were known to be endemic, NBC News reported Nov. 21. The study, published Nov. 22 in Annals of Internal Medicine, came weeks after another study found 94 percent of U.S. states had at least one county with high numbers of histoplasmosis cases and 69 percent with Valley fever cases. "We're definitely seeing disease in locations that we previously have not," George Thompson, MD, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California Davis, told NBC News. "And that's concerning because if we're recognizing those locations, where are the places it's occurring that just have not been recognized quite yet?" Climate change may be to blame for these fungi expanding to new regions, according to the report. n

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