E.coli breakthrough sought in study

03 Jul 2013

A new study will discover which reservoirs are key in a strain of antibiotic resistant bacteria called ESBL-positive E. coli that lead to human illness in Britain.

The purpose of the research, conducted by Public Health England (PHE) and funded by the Department of Health, is to take steps towards developing intervention strategies to limit how many people are infected by these bacteria.

Researchers will explore sewage, farm slurry and raw meat to find out whether the health of humans is threatened by various reservoirs of these bacteria. They will also take stool samples from patients with no symptoms of illness to determine whether the bacteria are in their gut.

E. coli is a bacterium that is found in the guts of humans and many animals alike. E. coli is the leading cause of urinary tract infections and blood poisoning, which are normally treated with antibiotics. The issue is an increasing number of resistant strains of E. Coli.

"The risks posed to human health by resistant E. coli from non-human reservoirs are not fully understood. This study will help to disentangle this complex interrelationship," said Professor Neil Woodford, head of the Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections Reference Unit at PHE.

Copyright Press Association 2013

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