Published: 13 May 2013 at 10:01
Research by Anglia Ruskin microbiologist shows danger of antibiotic-resistant bacteria
New research published tomorrow [Tuesday, 14 May] in the Journal of Medical Microbiology highlights the danger posed to diabetic patients by the deadly superbug Acinetobacter baumannii.
It was previously known that people with diabetes were at greater risk of contracting bacterial infections.
This new study, co-authored by Dr Ben Evans of Anglia Ruskin University and funded by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and King Faisal University, has shown for the first time that diabetic patients with an Acinetobacter baumannii infection are more likely than non-diabetic patients to contract strains of the bacterium that are resistant to the carbapenems, a group of last-line-of-defence antibiotics.
Acinetobacter baumannii is frequently found in the Middle East and has been referred to as “Iraqibacter” due to the number of troops who have contracted the bacteria after being wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. It only affects people whose immune system has been compromised and is mainly contracted in hospitals.
Dr Evans, Dr Al-Sultan from King Faisal University and co-authors, from the University of Edinburgh, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, King Faisal University and Taibah University, studied samples taken from patients in intensive care units in 37 hospitals in Saudi Arabia between 2008 and 2011.
From the 271 samples, 75 isolates from different patients were randomly selected. Of these, 100% of the diabetic patients had a strain of Acinetobacter baumannii resistant to a carbapenem (meropenem or imipenem) compared to 53% of the non-diabetic patients.
Dr Evans, Lecturer in Microbiology and Medical Biotechnology at Anglia Ruskin, said: