Antibiotic Resistence and TB, HFMD, and STD outbreak

Antibiotic resistance is a type of drug resistance where a microorganism is able to survive exposure to an antibiotic. While a spontaneous or induced genetic mutation in bacteria may confer resistance to antimicrobial drugs, genes that confer resistance can be transferred between bacteria in a horizontal fashion by conjugation, transduction, or transformation. Thus, a gene for antibiotic resistance that evolves via natural selection may be shared. Evolutionary stress such as exposure to antibiotics then selects for the antibiotic resistant trait. Many antibiotic resistance genes reside on plasmids, facilitating their transfer. If a bacterium carries several resistance genes, it is called multidrug resistant (MDR) or, informally, a superbug or super bacterium.
Genes for resistance to antibiotics, like the antibiotics themselves, are ancient.[1] However, the increasing prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections seen in clinical practice stems from antibiotic use both within human medicine and veterinary medicine. Any use of antibiotics can increase selective pressure in a population of bacteria to allow the resistant bacteria to thrive and the susceptible bacteria to die off. As resistance towards antibiotics becomes more common, a greater need for alternative treatments arises. However, despite a push for new antibiotic therapies there has been a continued decline in the number of newly approved drugs.[2][clarification needed] Antibiotic resistance therefore poses a significant problem.
There appears to be a connection with the outbreaks of TB, HFMD and STD due to antibiotic resistence that mutates into new forms of bacteria that will not be effective with today’s drugs.  
04:45 AM May 09, 2012
MUMBAI – A new superbug from India could spread around the world – in part because of medical tourism – and scientists say there are almost no drugs to treat it.
Researchers said yesterday they had found a new gene called New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase, or NDM-1, in patients in South Asia and in Britain.
United States health officials said yesterday there had been three cases so far in the US – all from patients who received recent medical care in India, a country where people often travel to in search of affordable healthcare.
NDM-1 makes bacteria highly resistant to almost all antibiotics, including the most powerful class called carbapenems. Experts say there are no new drugs on the horizon to tackle it.
“It’s a specific mechanism. A gene that confers a type of resistance (to antibiotics),” Dr Alexander Kallen of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said in a telephone interview.
With more people travelling to find less costly medical treatments, particularly for procedures such as cosmetic surgery, lead author Timothy Walsh, from Britain’s Cardiff University, said he feared the new superbug could soon spread across the globe.
In a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, Prof Walsh’s team found NDM-1 is jumping beyond India. More than 40 countries have discovered the genetically altered superbugs in blood, urine and other patient specimens. Canada, France, Italy, Kosovo and South Africa have found them in people with no travel links, suggesting the bugs have taken hold there.
The researchers said the epicentre is India, where drugs created to fight diseases have taken a perverse turn by making many ailments harder to treat.
India’s US$12.4 billion (S$15.5 billion) pharmaceutical industry manufactures almost a third of the world’s antibiotics and people use them so liberally that relatively benign and beneficial bacteria are becoming drug immune in a pool of resistance that thwarts even high-powered antibiotics, the so-called remedies of last resort.
Poor hygiene has spread resistant germs into India’s drains, sewers and drinking water, putting millions at risk of drug-defying infections. Antibiotic residues from drug manufacturing, livestock treatment and medical waste have entered water and sanitation systems, exacerbating the problem.
As the super bacteria take up residence in hospitals, they are compromising patient care and tarnishing India’s image as a medical tourism destination.
“It’s a matter of time and chance,” said Dr Mark Toleman, a molecular geneticist at Cardiff University.
“There is a tsunami that’s going to happen in the next year or two when antibiotic resistance explodes. We need wartime measures to deal with this now.”
Mr R K Srivastava, India’s former Director-General of Health Services, said the government is giving top priority to antimicrobial resistance, including increasing surveillance of hospitals’ antibiotics use.
At the same time, it is trying to preserve the country’s health-tourism industry. Bristling that foreigners coined a name that singles out their capital to describe an emerging health nightmare, officials say the world is picking on India for troubles that impede all developing nations.
“These bacteria were present globally,” said Mr Nirmal K Ganguly, a former director-general of the Indian Council of Medical Research and one of 13 members of a government task force created in September 2010 to respond to the NDM-1 threat.
“When you are blamed, the only reaction is that you put your back to the wall and fight,” he said. Agencies

Never bite the hand that feeds you ; It is a political issue, so a political solution is required

ATHENS | Tue May 8, 2012 9:00pm EDT

(Reuters) – Radical leftist Alexis Tsipras meets the leaders of Greece’s mainstream parties on Wednesday to try to form a coalition government, an effort seen as doomed after he demanded they first agree to tear up the country’s EU/IMF bailout deal.
An inconclusive election on Sunday has left Athens in political disarray, with no clear path to form a government, a new election likely within weeks and speculation escalating that Greece could be pushed out of Europe’s single currency bloc.
Voters enraged by economic hardship repudiated the two parties which led Greece for decades – conservative New Democracy and Socialist PASOK – the only groups that back the 130 billion-euro bailout which saved Greece from bankruptcy.
The remote chance of Tsipras forming a coalition faded even further on Tuesday when New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras promptly rejected his demand to scrap the bailout, warning such a move could drive the debt-choked country out of the euro.
“Mr. Tsipras asked me to put my signature to the destruction of Greece. I will not do this,” Samaras said. “The country cannot afford to play with fire.”
Tsipras’s leftist party placed second on Sunday, while New Democracy and PASOK – which between them had 77 percent of the vote just three years ago – saw their combined share fall to just 32 percent and PASOK reduced to third place.
Samaras was given the first chance to form a government but failed. On Tuesday Tsipras was given three days to try. He will meet Socialist PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos at 1500 GMT on Wednesday and Samaras at 1600 GMT.
If, as increasingly seems likely, no politician is able to cobble together a majority in the 300-seat parliament, a new election would have to be held in 3-4 weeks. Samaras may be hoping Greeks will give him a stronger mandate in a new vote.
“After Samaras’s response to Tsipras today, that particular bridge (the chance of a coalition deal between these parties) has been exploded, burned,” said Theodore Couloumbis, political analyst for Athens-based think-tank ELIAMEP.
Rivals for decades, New Democracy and PASOK had been ruling jointly in an uneasy coalition that negotiated last year’s bailout, which saw lenders demand ever-deeper spending cuts in a country already suffering five straight years of recession.
Most Greeks say they want to keep the euro currency – widely seen as impossible without the bailout – but they are furious with the two mainstream political parties they blame for the recession, record high unemployment and endemic corruption.
Most believe spending cuts demanded by the EU and International Monetary Fund are only making the situation worse by increasing unemployment and preventing economic recovery.
Even with a system that gave first-placed New Democracy an extra 50 seats – designed to make it easier to form stable governments – it and PASOK together fell short of a majority to renew their coalition, with only 149 seats between them.
On the streets of Athens, voters voiced exasperation over the lack of a deal between parties.
“They are all saying they don’t want to cooperate with anyone else. What does this show? All they care about is being prime minister, nobody cares about the country,” said Vasilia Konidary, who voted for Drasi, a tiny liberal party.
Theoretically, it could still be possible for Tsipras to form a left-leaning coalition with PASOK, if New Democracy abstained in a confidence vote rather than opposing it.
Such a scenario seems extremely unlikely, but PASOK leader Venizelos left the door slightly open on Tuesday by renewing calls for all the country’s pro-European parties to form a coalition and avoid a second round of elections.
“The Greek people asked for two things: For Greece to stay safely in Europe and the euro and at the same time to seek the best possible change in (bailout) terms so that citizens and growth can be helped,” Venizelos said.
If Tsipras fails, the president will give Venizelos, whose party was the biggest loser in the election, the last chance to try to form a government. If he should fail, new elections loom.
ELIAMEP’s Couloumbis said many Greeks may still be hoping Europe will bail them out and keep them in the euro zone, even if they reject the austerity demanded by the EU and IMF.
“Many here think Europe cannot afford to let Greece go down that path – that all we have to do is tell them we’ll jump from the 10th floor and they will have a safety net for us,” he said. “I say: ‘Beware, you may hit the ground and break into many pieces.'”
(Additional reporting by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Peter Graff)
Do you expect the EU/IMF bailout for Greece is without conditions and you expect a free handout? This expectation is only meant for kids asking for sweets from their parents. If you play with fire, expect to face the music and the results will be Greece will default on the terms of EU/IMF fundings and everything will stop there, an irregular default will sent Greece out of the Eurozone and the economy will be in shambles, there is enough firepower to isolate the rest of the Eurozone from a Greece exit, do you think austerity measures on a road to recovery is a safer bet? This is a political issue and you need a political solution, no use gathering votes when you cannot compound the problem.
– Contributed by Oogle.