Multi-resistant germs a ticking time bomb

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Multi-resistant pathogens are on the advance throughout Germany

The spread of multi-resistant pathogens is a growing problem in Germany. This assessment was also confirmed by the President of the Paul Ehrlich Society for Chemotherapy (PEG), Gert Höffken, at the PEG's 23rd annual conference in the German Hygiene Museum in Dresden. According to the experts, the main reason for the increased occurrence of multi-resistant germs is the improper, sometimes negligent handling of antibiotics.

When in contact with low doses of antibiotics, bacteria may not be killed and may subsequently develop resistance. In this way, common bacteria develop into multi-resistant germs that pass on their resistance from generation to generation. These are a ticking “time bomb” in all hospitals, PEG President Höffken explained at the annual conference in Dresden. The expert cited intestinal bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E. coli) or Klebsielles as examples. The latter were held responsible for numerous infections and even deaths at Leipzig University Hospital in the summer.

Improper antibiotics as a cause of increasing resistance
The president of the Paul Ehrlich Society for Chemotherapy explained that between 2007 and 2010 the proportion of multi-resistant strains in E. coli bacteria and adhesives increased by around 50 percent. The massive use of antibiotics - 816 tons per year in human medicine and over 1,700 tons in veterinary medicine - is directly related to the increasing spread of multi-resistant germs. The aim is therefore to "reduce the use of antibiotics." The German Society for Hospital Hygiene (DGKH) and the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) have been pursuing the same goal for a long time and have already made suggestions for practical implementation. Today, in many clinics there is a screening or regular recordings of the multi-resistant pathogens, for veterinary medicine the introduction of a prescription requirement is conceivable, said Höffken, President of the largest German-speaking specialist society in the field of infectious diseases with around 850 members.

This year's PEG annual conference is being organized in cooperation with the Saxon Society for General Medicine and the Saxon General Practitioners' Association. Until Saturday, topics that are of great practical importance for the resident colleagues, such as antibiotic consumption and resistance, Lyme disease, fever after going abroad and vaccinations, are to be discussed here, said the PEG President in his greeting to the annual conference in Dresden . (fp)

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Image: Sebastian Karkus /

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