Posts tagged: C Difficile

How Ondine Biomedical Addresses A World Of Growing Antibiotic Resistance

In 1969, the US Surgeon General William Stewart declared that the human race had won the war against bacteria. It was thought that bacteria would never be able to figure out how to develop resistance to the new complex antibiotics that had been created and that scientific researchers would always be able to stay well ahead of the bacteria. Today, it is well known that bacteria have reversed this situation and that the antibiotic resistance war is far from being over.

It is estimated that there are about 17 million people in the US alone annually suffering from painful and potentially harmful biofilm infections. To me and my colleagues at Ondine, we understand that certain bacteria have become dangerous and remain a threat to all of us. Every single one of us knows of a person who died, or nearly died, of an infection. Many of these people have died from infections acquired while in hospitals, a place where most of us think is safe. This just was not the case 20 years ago. This prevalence of deadly infections could not have been expected in 1969.  Our society’s overuse and misuse of antibiotics (over 25 million pounds of antibiotics are given to livestock every year) have led to greater threats to humanity. At the same time, the enormous costs and regulatory burdens have led to fewer new antibiotics being developed. Clearly the battle rages and we as humans have not been very strategic about our critical weapons. Read more »

It Took Half A Century To Develop A C. Difficile Treatment

It has taken 50 years, but a new drug has been released as a treatment for infections caused by Clostridium difficle. The new drug, called Dificlir, is an antibiotic treatment that has been shown to cut the chances of relapse from this type of infection in half.

C. diff, a gram-positive bacteria that can cause a serious and potentially fatal infection of the colon, can be found naturally in the gut flora of approximately 3% of adults and two-thirds of children. As a part of the body’s natural flora, the bacteria can live without causing any problems. For those who have experienced the painful and explosive symptoms of such infections, which include extreme diarrhea and abdominal pain, the release of this new drug is great news. It is also significant considering that C. diff has become more virulent over the past few decades, evolving into a key player in the emerging threat of antibiotic resistance.

The new drug works by preventing C. diff bacteria from producing the toxins that cause the disease and its immobilizing symptoms. By preventing such symptoms, the drug inadvertently prevents others from contracting the disease, as microbes are less likely to spread in the absence of the explosive diarrhea. It has taken over ten years to develop this new type of antibiotic, which is also called fidaxomicin.

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Healthcare-Associated Infections: A Silent Epidemic That Took My Father

In July of 2008, my father, Richard G. Croke Jr., went into the hospital for a surgery to remove a piece of his esophagus after being diagnosed with esophageal cancer the previous winter. While the initial chances of survival for this type of cancer were slim, six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation treatments left my dad cancer free. Although the esophagealectomy was an invasive procedure, we were told that the surgery would be the easy part of his journey now that he was cancer free.

The day after his surgery, I went to the hospital to visit him. He was up talking and cracking jokes in his usual manner. Everything seemed fine. Until we received a phone call from the hospital in the middle of the night saying that my dad was extremely ill and might not make it through the night. That was the beginning of the six weeks that changed our lives forever.

Upon entering his ICU room that night, my dad was full of almost 100 pounds of excess fluid, was attached to a number of IVs, and had a ventilator breathing for him. We were told that my dad was in septic shock, which was caused by MRSA entering the bloodstream through the contaminated central line on his foot. He spent six weeks in the hospital, and for a while was getting better until he caught C. diff about a month after the initial bout with sepsis.

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