Resistant E coli may be next MRSA

Antibiotic-resistant hospital-type Escherichia coli bacteria could become a problem in community settings, predict Canadian researchers.

Surveys in Europe have shown that E coli bacteria are developing resistance to a range of antibiotics, potentially causing a scenario like that seen with community-acquired MRSA.

These strains of E coli produce extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBL), giving them antibiotic resistance.

Such strains of E coli commonly present as UTIs, but recent reports have shown that in a few cases, ESBL E coli can cause bloodstream infections, say the researchers who reviewed available data.

Worldwide spread of resistant E coli in hospitals and the community is needed, they add.

Lancet Infect Dis 2008; 8: 159-66

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