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Warning over spread of hospital superbugs

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A government agency has called for the pharmaceuticals industry to find treatments for hospital superbugs other than MRSA.

The Health Protection Agency has urged pharmaceutical companies to develop new antibiotics to combat the threat of increasingly resistant bacteria.

In order to fight superbugs, the HPA is also calling for more careful prescribing, better infection control and general awareness among the health profession and public about appropriate antibiotic use.

While treatments for bugs such as MRSA are improving, other ‘gram-negative’ bacteria are developing at an alarming rate.

These multi-resistant bacteria will often attack the most vulnerable patients, including those in intensive care or with chronic lung disease. At present, there is a specific problem with Pseudomonas and Burkholderia which affect cystic fibrosis sufferers.

Ahead of next week’s HPA annual conference an agency expert, Dr David Livermore, said that gram-negative, multi-resistant bacteria posed a massive threat to the health system.

He added: ‘There is an urgent need for the pharmaceutical industry to work towards developing new treatment options to tackle infections caused by these bacteria.’

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