Via the South China Morning Post: Hong Kong urged to tackle superbug problem by making hospitals disclose infection and drug data. Excerpt and then a comment:
A leading microbiologist warns Hong Kong is “lagging behind” combating the spread of superbugs and says pressure should be put on public hospitals by making them disclose the number of cases and their use of antibiotics.
Hospital chiefs would then be obliged to tackle the problem, linked to doctors who too freely hand out the drugs.
Professor Yuen Kwok-yung said when this was done in Britain, cases of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) fell by about 90 per cent within 10 years. The superbug can infect different parts of the body and has been under World Health Organisation surveillance.
The recommendation by Yuen, chair of infectious diseases at the University of Hong Kong and a government adviser on the issue, comes ahead of a meeting late this month by the government’s steering committee on antimicrobial resistance, headed by health minister Dr Ko Wing-man, to discuss expert proposals.
Yuen said hospitals would only adopt more stringent measures if the prescription of antibiotics and the number of infections were under public scrutiny.
“Pressure could be exerted only if hospitals are named. Hospital heads would then take action [to tackle the problem],” he said.
The use of large amounts of antibiotics might indicate abuse of the drugs, which could kill both the bad and good germs in the body and promote the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
In 2014 in Britain, 11 per cent of Staphylococcus aureus cases were MRSA, in contrast to 48 per cent in Hong Kong.
The city also recorded a 47 per cent rate of Acinetobacter cases that were resistant to carbapenem, another superbug given a “critical” priority by the WHO, compared with just 2 per cent in Britain.
“I’m not very optimistic [about resolving the problem quickly]. It is way too severe,” Yuen said.
I'm currently reading Michael Osterholm's excellent new book Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs, in which he points out that US hospitals were horrified at being made to report their antibiotic-resistant cases