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Toolkit to help fight bacterial infections

Antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections could be better controlled by nurses and other health staff, thanks to the launch of a new toolkit from specialists at Public Health England (PHE).

The toolkit will help hospitals identify, manage and control such viruses caused by carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE).

CPEs are strains of gut bacteria that have the ability to kill a key group of antibiotics called carbapenems, making them resistant to these drugs.

Two trusts in Manchester have seen CPE strike over 100 patients during the past five years.

A Patient Safety Alert has been issued to encourage take-up of the anti-bacterial infection toolkit.

The alert, devised by PHE and NHS England, urges trusts to immediately identify if there are, or have been, cases of CPE in their organisation.

The alert also recommends introducing the development of a CPE management plan at board level.

It says that managing cases or outbreaks of antibiotic resistant infections in hospitals necessitates four crucial elements:

:: samples taken early for microbiological analysis if there is a suspicion that a patient is infected with resistant bacteria

:: managing the patient to stop any resistant bacteria spreading to others

:: robust infection prevention and control measures such as hand washing and comprehensive cleaning and decontamination

:: reviewing the employment of medical gadgets and prescribed antibiotics

Chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, warned that the increase in antibiotic resistance is a “real threat to our ability to treat diseases”.

She said: “The new toolkit will ensure that hospitals are well placed to detect, manage and control any cases.”

Prof Davies added that resistant bacteria monitoring system are key to protecting the effect of antibiotics.

Enterobacteriaceae are normally harmless. But they can sometimes disperse away from the gut to regions such as the urinary tract or into the bloodstream, where they can cause serious infections.

This can happen through the use of medical devices such as urinary catheters or intravenous drips where the skin is punctured.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Yes we need to deal with CPE's but this toolkit is unworkable. The implications of this guideance have not been thought through - its more screening (rectal), more isolation, more work for nurses and more anxiety for patients- with of course no funding to pay for it. And lets see - yes one nurse from public health on the working party. Yet another complicated document which will not work but which the DH/PHE will argue would have worked if only we had followed it. This has been followed up with a letter to CEOs making clear that it has to happen - so good luck.

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