Search: urinary tract infection

From a Chronic Urinary Tract Infection to Disability: The Dangers of Bacterial Biofilms

When most of us think of diabetes, urinary tract infection isn’t something that immediately comes to mind.  Of course, there are the usual complications, such as heart disease, kidney damage, foot ulcers, and blindness—but increased susceptibility to infections is something that many people miss.  For an acquaintance of mine, however, a chronic, treatment resistant, urinary tract infection has come to define her diabetic experience of the last 10 months.

Despite having her blood sugar levels under strict control, my acquaintance went a little overboard last Christmas, enjoying a few too many cookies and chocolates—something all of us have been guilty of at one time or another.  Sugar, unfortunately for diabetics, and my acquaintance, thickens the blood and makes it more difficult to supply organs such as the heart, kidneys, and nerves with oxygen.   As a result of this little misadventure, she developed very specific type of nerve damage, called neurogenic bladder.   Neurogenic bladder, in a nutshell, damages the involuntary nerves that make urination possible and allow the bladder to be emptied.

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Healthcare-associated Infections Kill 5 Times More People Than AIDS Every Year

It has been over 30 years since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the first cases of HIV/AIDS. Since then, so much has been done to learn more about the virus and disease, as well as significant attempts to raise awareness and prevent the transmission of the virus to uninfected individuals. It is estimated that nearly 30 million people have died as a result of HIV/AIDS since the early 1980s. While these needless deaths are truly a tragedy, what is almost more shocking is the fact that in the United States, more people die annually as a result of something many of you may have not heard of: Healthcare-associated Infections.

Healthcare-associated infections include a wide range of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that a patient acquires while in any healthcare setting. Common HAIs include central-line associated bloodstream infections, urinary tract infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia, and surgical site infections. Collectively, more than 1.7 million HAIs occur every year, killing more than 99,000 people. AIDS kills 18,000. Read More

Healthcare-Associated Infections: Overabundant and Underreported

It’s hard to turn on the news without hearing something about new advances in cancer research, or a recent car accident that has claimed the life of an innocent victim. While these examples are serious and noteworthy issues that deserve media attention. Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are the reason why approximately 99,000 people die annually in the United States alone, yet this issue receives little media attention compared to other diseases and events. As the ability to control and prevent such infections increases, the occurrence of HAIs becomes more and more unacceptable.
HAIs are a major problem, causing nearly 1.7 million infections annually and up to $45 billion in additional costs in the US healthcare system alone. Emotionally and financially devastating to those involved, the majority of such infections are preventable. While progress has been made recently to combat such infections, more general awareness needs to be raised in order for patients and their families to understand the risks they face while receiving healthcare, and what can be done to protect those at risk.

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Healthcare-associated Infections: A Preventable Worldwide Problem

Healthcare-associated infections occur when a patient acquires an infection during the course of treatment at, or a visit to, a healthcare facility

Globally, healthcare-associated infections involve millions of people and kill hundreds of thousands of people annually. Available statistics suggest that 8,500 to 12,000 Canadians will die from HAIs every year1, making these infections one of the largest killers in Canada.

Healthcare-associated infections occur when a patient acquires an infection during the course of treatment at, or a visit to, a healthcare facility. It is classified as an HAI once doctors have ruled out that the patient did not enter the healthcare facility with this infection present. The duration of the infection has to be at least 48 hours to be considered an HAI2. In some unfortunate situations where the patient is admitted for less than 48 hours, the infection will not show up until after the patient has been released from the hospital. These HAIs may not be included in the statistics. Read More

Catheter-Associated UTIs: How Infection Occurs

Urinary tract infections are one of the most common healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in the US, accounting for 30% of all reported cases.  Approximately 75% of these UTIs are associated with the use of urinary catheters1, which are called catheter-associated UTIs. Patients with long term catheterization have been shown to have a higher risk of developing a catheter-associated biofilm infection.

In the US, more than five million hospital and nursing home patients require urinary catheterization every year2. This process is illustrated in the images above. During urinary catheterization, a thin flexible plastic tube is lubricated and inserted into a patient’s urethra. Once the catheter enters the bladder, a small balloon is inflated to hold the tube in place. A urine drainage bag with an emptying spout is connected to the external end of the catheter. This end collects the urine. Read More

New Application of Photodynamic Disinfection to be Funded by UK’s Medical Research Council: Catheter-Associated Infection Prevention

Today we announced a significant new opportunity for both our company and for the Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) world. By awarding our groups a £ 1 million award to develop PDT based products to prevent catheter associated infections, the UK Government has validated the need for solutions as well as endorsed the potential of Photodynamic Therapy in this role.

Together with a team of multi-disciplined experts at University College London (UCL), Ondine will collaborate on an important new initiative which leverages our combined 30 plus years of history in photodynamics to develop a new major class of medical devices based on Photodynamic disinfection. The new class of products will address the multi-billion dollar issue of catheter-associated infections, firmly placing Ondine as a leading supplier of innovative non-antibiotic products addressing  the $35-$45 billion per year healthcare-associated infection (HAI) market1. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are considered to be the largest source of HAIs, representing about 30% of all reported cases, with catheter-associated UTIs representing 75% of this number. Read More

Top healthcare-associated infections: UTI, VAP, SSI

Urinary tract infections, ventilator associated pneumonia and surgical site infections are three of the top HAIs

Healthcare-associated infections cost the US healthcare system a shocking $35-$45 billion each year1. There are many different types of HAIs that contribute to this disturbingly high number. Let’s focus on three of the top HAIs that are demanding immediate public attention:

  1. Urinary tract infections
  2. Ventilator associated pneumonia
  3. Surgical site infections Read More

Photodisinfection for the treatment of Biofilm Infections

Bacteria, which are single-celled organisms, generally exist in either a free-floating, unattached (planktonic) state or in an attached state called a biofilm.  A planktonic form suggests these single celled organisms float or swim independently of each other in some liquid medium.  A biofilm, or attached state, is created with a change of behaviour triggered by many factors, including quorum sensing. A biofilm is a complex community of a number of different microorganisms coexisting together and marked by the excretion of a protective and adhesive matrix. The biofilm is held together and protected by the matrix, called extracellular polymeric substance or exopolysaccharide (EPS), holds the biofilm together, protects the cells within it and facilitates communication among bacteria through biochemical signals.  In a biofilm, cells are closely packed together and firmly attached to each other and usually to a solid surface. Read More

The Burn Wound Problem

Burn wounds are prevalent issue in urgent care centers around the world. This issue can affect a wide array of people from household accidents to combat wounds in the battlefield. Burn patients’ exposed and injured tissue is prone to many harmful bacteria and subsequent infections. According to the American Burn Association, 486,000 people in 2016 have sought out treatment for burn wounds—a statistic that may be close to home.1 However, this problem is even more pronounced in countries elsewhere, especially where treatment is difficult to acquire and wound care is hard to carry out.  In order to better understand this problem, we should take a look at what exactly is causing complications involving burn wounds, as well as possible methods in treating burn wounds.

Most burn wound infections are caused by a handful of common organisms. A 6-year study reviewing the records of the US Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center found that the most common organisms infection burn patients were Acinetobacter baumanniiPseudomonas aeruginosa  , Klebsiella pneumonia and Staphylococcus aureus.2 Many of the organisms found in burn wounds tend to be multi-drug resistant making effective treatment difficult for healthcare workers.

Since the exposed tissue of burn patients is prone to harmful pathogens, most burn patients are known to experience some type of infection, especially in developing countries. A 2007 study conducted by the Ahvaz Jundi-Shapour University of Medical Sciences found that 76.9% of patients in a burn hospital acquired a burn-related infection. Of these patients, 72.5% possessed primary wound infection, 18.6% blood stream infection, and 8.9% urinary tract infection.3 While the study did not explicitly investigate the cause of high rates of infection, it stresses the need to develop methods in preventing and treating these burns. Because of the vulnerable nature of these burns, hospitals and healthcare workers need to take extra precautions with sanitation and wound surveillance; however, how will hospitals tackle multi-drug resistant bacteria?

Burn infections are known to be resistant to many types of antibiotics. This makes treatment difficult and prolonged and can lead to more severe secondary complications. However, new methods in treatment may tackle this problem. An experiment conducted by Tianhong et al of the American Society for Microbiology employed photodynamic therapy on burn infections in mice.4 For those who don’t know, antimicrobial photodynamic therapy (aPDT) involves using energetic non-thermal light in conjunction with a photosensitizer solution to battle infection. A clinical isolate of A. baumannii from Iraq was applied on burn surfaces on the mice, and aPDT was employed on the wound either directly after infection occurred, or 1 and 2 days after infection occurred.4 The study found a 3-log unit loss of bacterial infection when aPDT was employed directly after infection occurred and a 1.7-log unit loss of bacterial infection when aPDT was employed 1 to 2 days after infection.4 The experiment also mentioned, “that PDT did not lead to the inhibition of wound healing.” The results from this experiment demonstrate the effectiveness in employing aPDT as a treatment for burn infections.

From the study discussed above,  aPDT has the potential to be an effective method in treating burn infections. An important point to take away from the experiment is the timing of the aPDT treatment—it was most effective the sooner it was carried out on the burn wound. This is important for patients to seek out medical assistance when acquiring a burn-related injury so that they may be monitored for infection and treatment is administered right away. This would aid greatly both on the infection prevention front and the treatment front.

Burn wounds and infections are a serious issue facing people around the world. The culprits of infection have become resistant to many forms of conventional antibiotics, and thus, new methods must be developed and employed. While this article discussed specific examples in developing countries and military hospitals, it is imperative to know that these issues exist close to home. Burns can happen anywhere at home or in the workplace, and multi-drug resistant bacteria are prevalent everywhere. Everyone can benefit from knowing about the issue and aiding in the development of prevention and treatment.





Antibiotic Resistance: Are We Winning the Battle, But Losing the War?

Laziness, disillusionment, anger— these are just a few words that come to mind when considering the problem of antibiotic resistance.   From the deliberate misuse of antibiotics in animal feeds, to wide-spread, inappropriate prescriptions for viral infections, the sheer scale of the problem lends itself to feelings of powerlessness and frustration.  For many of us, it’s simply easier to ignore the warning signs and shrug off the future consequences of doing nothing.  Unfortunately, the reality is that people are dying every day—in hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care facilities—from bacteria that were once treated with antibiotic therapy. What were once miracle drugs just a few decades ago—able to eradicate any bacterial infection in the blink of an eye— are now no longer working for a number of infections.  With a lack of good treatment options against resistant strains such as MRSA, enterococci, and c. difficile, frontline health professionals are becoming increasingly alarmed and frightened for future patients.

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