Bacteria that are difficult to treat, such as MRSA and the ESBL enzyme group, are spreading around Sweden, according to a new report from the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control (Smittskyddsinstitutet – SMI) and the National Veterinary Institute (Statens veterinärmedicinska anstalt – SVA).
The number of reported cases of ESBL went up to 7,225 in 2012, up by 28 percent from 2011, especially prevalent in cases of the intestinal ESBL-CARBA bacteria, a disease considered very difficult or impossible to treat.
Cases of the perhaps most feared multi-resistant bacteria, MRSA, also shot up in Sweden, with 11 percent more reported cases last year compared to 2011.
MRSA enters a host body through the nostrils and respiratory tract, and can lead to infected sores, blood poisoning and bone infection. Those particularly susceptible include people with weak immune systems, homeless, elderly, and people living in shared or confined spaces.
Otto Cars, physician at SMI, said that the bacterial increases “mean that there are more difficult-to-treat infections where only a few antibiotics still work”.
While the use of antibiotics is dropping in Sweden, the difference between the nation’s counties remains “remarkably high” according to the report.
More prescriptions are issued in general in the larger counties, with Stockholm seeing 410 per 1,000 people compared to just 290 in Västerbotten, which ranked as the lowest.