• Sweden edition
 

Superbugs on the rise in Sweden

Published: 01 Jun 2010 16:19 GMT+02:00
Updated: 01 Jun 2010 16:19 GMT+02:00

The number of cases of multiresistant superbugs in Sweden rose sharply last year, according to a new report.

The worst culprits were so-called ESBL-forming intestinal bacteria, which include certain strains of E. coli, according to the report by the Institute for Infectious Disease Control (Smittskyddsinstitutet, SMI).

A total of 3,754 cases of ESBL were reported in 2009. Comparing the second half of last year with the same period in 2008, the number of cases rose 27 percent, the report revealed.

"This is a worrying development, among other reasons because there is a serious lack of new antibiotics that can be used against these gram-negative bacteria. Treatment options are few," said Barbro Olsson Liljequist, chief microbiologist at SMI.

ESBL, while harmless in most people, can cause ailments including pneumonia or urinary tract or blood infections. People who are frail, in intensive care or otherwise in hospital for an extended period are among those in the risk groups.

The more antibiotics are used, the greater the risk becomes for the emergence and spread of resistant bacteria. Antibiotic use continues to vary widely between different counties in Sweden.

So far in 2010, seven major ESBL outbreaks have occurred in the health care system. Another study shows that one in four Swedish tourists who returned from holidays abroad brought home ESBL bacteria that they did not have before they left.

"There is no evidence to suggest that we have stopped the ESBL outbreaks," said Otto Cars, director of Strama, a Swedish anti-superbug programme. "They continue and we must take it seriously."

Worse, for the third consecutive year, the report noted cases in Sweden of multiresistant ESBL-producing bacteria that are immune to carbapenems. Carbapenems are one of the few groups of antibiotics that remain active against this type of bacteria.

In 2009, three cases of carbapenem resistance were reported. In each case, the patient had received medical care in southern Europe. Thirteen cases of carbapenem resistance have been reported to date in Sweden.

One bright spot in the report is that prescriptions for antibiotics in outpatient care declined sharply by 7.4 percent in 2009. The largest decrease was for children up to the age of six, with prescriptions dropping 17.2 percent.

"It is positive that consumption declined in 2009," said Cars. "The increase in resistant bacteria underlines the importance of not using antibiotics unnecessarily. In addition, we must invest more on hygiene routines and there must be capacity in the health care system to cope with the increased resistance - for example, with access to single rooms."

An analysis done by the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) shows that it is common for children to receive repeated courses of antibiotics. Every 10th prescription of respiratory antibiotics for children up to the age of six years is followed by a new course within 14 days. There may be several factors behind this, such as problems with the children taking the medication in the manner intended.

Cars stressed that the use of antibiotics must be reduced even further. He believes that hospital care for those who are infected will result in enormous bills in the future.

"I am convinced that it will cost about 1 billion kronor [$126.13 million] in Sweden," he said.

Cars believes that every county should have an emergency plan to quickly halt the spread of an outbreak. No such requirement currently exists for counties.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

14:20 June 2, 2010 by Audrian
Ouch! this is terrible news!
Today's headlines
Teen in 'Jihad Jane' Vilks murder plot sentenced
Swedish artist Lars Vilks pictured in New York in 2012. Photo: Linus Sundahl-Djerf/TT

Teen in 'Jihad Jane' Vilks murder plot sentenced

American authorities have sentenced a 20-year-old accomplice of 'Jihad Jane' to five years in prison for an attempted terror plot to kill Swedish artist Lars Vilks, after getting involved with the murder plans when he was a teenager. READ () »

Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input
Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag visits a school in Tensta, one of the neighbourhoods mentioned when he and his colleagues first floated the new start zone proposal. File: TT

Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input

Sweden has abandoned a plan to ease taxes for small companies in blighted areas after the European Commission challenged its legality. READ () »

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'
A typical Swedish Easter egg. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'

A Swedish microbiologist has warned that traditional Swedish Easter eggs laden with candy are an open invitation to the spread of bacteria and viruses. "Is this really a good idea?" he asked. READ () »

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour
Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour

PICTURES: A truck got wedged inside a tunnel in central Stockholm on Thursday, with authorities concerned the accident may have damaged cables in the tunnel's ceiling. READ () »

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
A Swedish Easter witch holding daffodils. File photo: TT

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter

In India, I'd notice Easter only from the traffic jam outside the churches, but here witches, egg hunts, and feathers mark the Christian holiday. The Local's Deepti Vashisht brings you the various shades of Swedish Easter. READ () »

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Chemtrails?: Shutterstock.

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe

A Swedish MP who launched an official government investigation into the existence of chemtrails tells The Local why he thinks Swedes deserve the truth, even if it may leave some conspiracy theorists unsatisfied. READ () »

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid
Fredrik Reinfeldt answers the constitutional affairs committee's questions. Photo: TT

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid

Sweden's prime minister on Thursday said Vattenfall itself, not its owners the Swedish state, had responsibility for the loss-making Nuon deal. READ () »

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer
Photo: TT

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer

A Swedish lawyer says the Swedish military may have broken the law when it raided the Malmö premises of German defence giant Thyssen Krupp. READ () »

Good weather could blight Easter traffic
Easter traffic two years ago on the E4 motorway. File: Jessica Gow/TT

Good weather could blight Easter traffic

Traffic experts have cautioned Swedes heading to the countryside for what should be a sunny Easter, warning that the most serious accidents often take place when the weather is clement. READ () »

Saab offers Gripen lease to Malaysia
Jas Gripen jets in flight. File photo: TT

Saab offers Gripen lease to Malaysia

Swedish defence giant Saab has offered to rent out fighter jets to Malaysia. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Advertisement:
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
TT
Society
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
YouTube
Society
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Fastighetsbyrån
Society
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Private
Society
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Features
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Shutterstock
Society
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Society
Jimi Fritze heard every word when doctors discussed taking his organs
Society
A Swedish farmer explains why the new bestiality ban is 'pointless'
ESL
Sponsored Article
Learning Swedish the easy way
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

772
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com