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Foreign bugs strike UK hospitals


There are fears that patients returning home after undergoing surgery abroad are bringing with them a host of new superbugs.

The Health Protection Agency has issued a warning relating to “a notable public health risk” after two people died and 18 others were left seriously ill over the last year due to the virulent new strains of drug resistant bacteria.

Around 17 hospitals in England and Scotland have reported incidents of the new bugs, which are much harder for doctors to treat than Clostridium difficile or MRSA as they are proving resistant to all standard antibiotics.

Hospitals have seen conditions such as wound infections, septicaemia, pneumonia and gastroenteritis as a result of the superbugs acquired after patients underwent cosmetic treatments and organ transplants while staying in hospitals in India and Pakistan.

Other cases have also been seen in British holidaymakers who spent time in Greek and Turkish hospitals after road traffic accidents.

John McConnell, editor of the Lancet Infectious Diseases, said: “There’s the potential for this to become a substantial problem of antibiotic resistance within UK hospitals, and there’s not much we can do at the moment.”

Copyright Press Association 2009

Lancet Infectious Diseases

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