Call 413.540.1234 to
schedule an appointment
CONCERN/EAP: 413.534.2625
Billing questions? Call: 413.540.1212
CRISIS: 413.733.6661

Health Policy & Advocacy
Resources
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News
FDA Warns of Deaths Tied to Tainted Synthetic PotWhere Are Opioid Painkillers Prescribed the Most?In the ICU, Patients' Relatives Often Mum About Care ConcernsResetting E-Prescriptions for Opioids Helps Curb Use: StudyHealth Tip: If You're 45 or Older, Get Screened for Colorectal CancerRed Cross Issues Nationwide Call for Blood DonationsDoctor Burnout Widespread, Helps Drive Many Medical ErrorsWarming Climate, More AC -- and More Unhealthy Smog AheadEven at 'Safe' Levels, Air Pollution May Boost Diabetes RiskDeath Certificate Data May Miss Many Opioid ODs: StudyRaise the Bar on CPR, Heart Group SaysWhen DEA Cracked Down on Opioids, Abusers Moved to Black Market: StudyStigma of Safe Needle Exchanges Lingers Despite Opioid EpidemicAHA: Drones a Lifesaver for Cardiac Arrest Patients?Millions Die Worldwide Each Year for Lack of Quality CareTips for Handling a Medical EmergencyAHA: Lifesaving Info Not Always a 911 Call AwayMany, But Not All, Hospitals Require Flu Shots for StaffersCancer Care Twice as Costly in U.S. Versus CanadaAHA: Health Concerns Haunt Puerto Rico as New Hurricane Season BeginsPot, Opioids Now Rival Alcohol as Factor in Driver DeathsThe ER or Urgent Care?Trumps Signs Bill Allowing Terminal Patients to Try Unproven MedicinesTough State Drunk Driving Laws Save LivesE-Cigarettes Don't Help Smokers Quit, But Cash MightSmall World? Not With One-Quarter Obese by 2045A Pill to Protect You From the Sun? Don't Believe It, FDA SaysMost Hospitals Aren't Ready for Mass Tragedies, ER Docs SayAHA: Making America's Doctors Look More Like AmericaLanguage Used in Medical Record Can Affect Patient CareNonprofit Manufacturer Could Keep Generic Drug Costs DownOpioid Makers' Perks to Docs Tied to More PrescriptionsFDA Targets Clinics Offering Unapproved Stem Cell TherapiesLittle 'Quit-Smoking' Help at U.S. Mental Health CentersIs Testing for Zika in U.S. Blood Supply Worth the Cost?'Smoke-Free' Rooms Still Loaded With Smoke Residues, Study FindsAHA: Smoke-Free Laws Do Seem to Help Young Adults' HeartsAHA: Poverty Levels Key to States' Performance on Heart DiseaseSimple Drug Packaging Change Could Save Toddlers' LivesFDA Cracks Down on Dangerous E-Cig Liquids That Resemble Cookies, CandyNew Clinic Satisfaction Tool Provides Real-Time FeedbackUnused Meds? Saturday Is National Drug Take Back DayA Doctor's Age May Matter With Emergency SurgeryPatients Prefer Doctors Who Engage in Face-to-Face VisitsU.S. Better Able to Tackle Health Emergencies: ReportFirst Opioid Lawsuit Targeting Pharmacy Benefit ManagersMost Doctors' Offices Don't Offer Flexibility for UninsuredSafety Info for Opioids Found LackingNonoptimized Drug Therapy Costs More Than $500 Billion AnnuallyFDA Cracks Down on Caffeine-Loaded Supplements
Questions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

A Hidden Source of 'Superbugs' in Hospitals?

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Feb 6th 2018

new article illustration

TUESDAY, Feb. 6, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Hospital wastewater systems may play a role in antibiotic resistance, a new study suggests.

U.S. National Institutes of Health researchers collected samples from pipes beneath a hospital's intensive care unit and from manholes covering sewers draining hospital wastewater.

Most of the samples tested positive for bacterial plasmids (ring-shaped pieces of DNA) that can make bacteria resistant to carbapenems, which are "last-resort" antibiotics given to patients who develop multidrug-resistant infections.

The findings add to growing evidence that hospital wastewater systems are a significant reservoir for plasmids that can make bacteria resistant to antibiotics, according to the researchers.

Some experts believe these plasmids thrive in hospital wastewater systems due to regular use of strong antibiotics in hospitals.

The researchers also tested hospital sinks and other high-touch areas -- such as countertops, door knobs and computers -- for carbapenem-resistant organisms, but found little evidence of them. Of the 217 high-touch surface samples, only three (1.4 percent) tested positive for carbapenem-resistant organisms.

And only 11 of 340 samples collected from drains were positive (3.2 percent), the findings showed.

Those findings suggest that efforts to control antibiotic-resistant organisms on hospital surfaces are successful in reducing the risk of patient infections, study co-leader and microbiologist Karen Frank said in a news release from the American Society for Microbiology.

Frank said those findings also prompt the question: "How much should we care that there are a bunch of plasmids down in the wastewater system if they're not infecting our patients?"

She explained that it's important for researchers to learn all they can about plasmids that make bacteria antibiotic-resistant because it could reduce the number of patients with antibiotic-resistant infections.

The findings were published Feb. 6 in the journal mBio.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on antibiotic resistance.