A popular Ely cafe is set to play host to a new delicatessen.
Toddlers at a nursery dressed up as the characters from their favourite books today.
Former leader quits East Cambs council alleging ‘disquiet’ over cuts that could see up to 23 posts axed
A former leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council has resigned over “disquiet” surrounding proposals to reorganise the authority and possibly axe 23 posts.
CAMBRIDGESHIRE: Man with a fetish for spanking girls jailed for abusing four children - the youngest five- dating back to the 1970s
A man with a fetish for spanking girls has been jailed for abusing four children dating back to the 1970s.
"Antibiotics: 'national threat' from steep rise in patients who are resistant to drugs,” The Daily Telegraph reports. The Mail Online reports that there were, “600 reported cases of drugs failing because of resistant bacteria last year”.
What isn’t made very clear is that these 600 cases were of one very specific form of antibiotic-resistant bacteria called carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE).
Enterobacteriaceae is a large group of types of bacteria. The group includes harmless bacteria that live in the gut, as well as bacteria such as E. coli, and Salmonella that can cause food poisoning. Enterobacteriaceae can also cause infection if they enter the wrong part of the body, such as the blood stream.
Some of these bacteria have developed resistance against a group of strong antibiotics called carbapenems, which are normally used to treat the most serious infections.
The resistant CPE bacteria produce an enzyme (carbapenemase) that breaks down the antibiotic and makes it ineffective.
This is potentially serious as carbapenems are essentially a weapon of last resort in our “antibiotic armoury”. If carbapenem resistance became widespread then the consequences for public health could be akin to a return to the pre-antibiotic era.
To address the concern, Public Health England has released a “toolkit” – a series of recommendations to help health staff limit the spread of CPE in hospitals.
What is antibiotic resistance?
Antibiotics are drugs used to treat infections caused by bacteria. Sometimes bacteria develop the ability to survive antibiotic treatment, this is called antibiotic resistance.
When a strain of bacteria become resistant to an antibiotic it means this antibiotic will no longer be effective for treating the infections they cause. Antibiotic resistance is one of the most significant threats to patient safety in Europe. Read more about antibiotic resistance.
What are CPE bacteria?
Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae are bacteria that live in the gut and are normally harmless. However, if they get into other parts of the body, such as the bladder or bloodstream, they can cause an infection.
Carbapenems are strong antibiotics similar to penicillin. They are used by doctors as a ‘last resort’ to treat some infections when other antibiotics have failed. Some Enterobacteriaceae make enzymes called carbapenemases that allow them to break down these antibiotics, and this makes them resistant. Only a few strains of Enterobacteriaceae produce carbapenemases currently, but this number is growing.
What does the CPE public health toolkit aim to do?
Public Health England’s advice for healthcare professionals in England focuses on early detection of CPE, as well as advice on how to manage or treat CPE, and control their spread in hospitals and residential care homes.
Public Health England has produced information leaflets for healthcare professionals to give to people who have been identified as being carriers or infected with CPE, or who are in contact with people who are infected.
Why do we need help managing these antibiotic-resistant bacteria?
There are currently only a few strains of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE), but this number is growing. In 2006, there were five patients reported to Public Health England as having CPE, but by 2013 this number had risen to more than 600. These numbers include people who were just carriers of CPE, as well as those with infections.
Public Health England wants to act quickly to minimise the spread of CPE, as rapid spread could mean doctors are less able to rely on carbapenem antibiotics. This could pose an increasing threat to public health.
What information does Public Health England offer patients?
Public Health England’s CPE toolkit explains what CPE are, and the importance of carbapenem resistance. It explains that:
- there is an increased chance of picking up CPE if you have been a patient in a hospital abroad or in a UK hospital that has had patients carrying the bacteria, or if you have been in contact with a CPE carrier elsewhere
- if a doctor or nurse suspects that you are a CPE carrier, they will arrange for screening to see if you are a carrier
- screening usually involves taking a rectal swab or giving a sample of faeces
- while a patient is waiting for the screening result, and if they are found to have CPE, they will be kept in a single room with its own toilet facilities. This is to limit the potential for spread of CPE to other people through contaminated faeces
- the most important way for a patient and visitors to reduce spread of CPE is to regularly wash hands well with soap and water, especially after going to the toilet
- patients who have a CPE infection need to be treated with antibiotics, but those who just carry CPE in their gut do not need antibiotics
Links To The Headlines
Antibiotics: 'national threat' from steep rise in patients who are resistant to drugs. The Daily Telegraph, March 6 2014
Fears that cases of antibiotic-resistant bacteria could get 'out of control'. The Independent, March 6 2014
Antibiotic resistance soars: Cases of gut bacteria not destroyed by drugs increase by 12,000% in seven years. Mail Online, March 6 2014
Two people have been arrested in connection with a police officer scam across the county.
“Peeing in the pool could be bad for your health,” the Mail Online reports. As well as being unpleasant and socially unacceptable, new research suggests that a chemical in wee can react with chlorinated swimming pool water, creating potentially harmful byproducts.
The study in question used lab tests to study the reaction between a chemical found in urine (uric acid) and the chlorine in swimming pools. Researchers found that the combination of these substances can form some potentially harmful chemicals, known as nitrogen-containing disinfection byproducts (N-DBPs).
N-DBPs found at low levels in swimming pools have been linked to eye and throat irritation. At high levels, they can adversely effect the nervous and cardiovascular systems.
These byproducts were already known to be in chlorinated pools and to be formed from the reaction between chlorine and organic chemicals, such as those found in body fluids. This latest study confirms that uric acid is one of the potential sources of these chemicals.
The Mail’s coverage of this study is, primarily, an excuse to run an amusing story about weeing in pools, rather than to report on new research. It shouldn't need a study to tell us that weeing in a pool is not the most hygienic or polite of habits.
Swimming in a pool, with lifeguards to protect you, is a great form of exercise. If you choose to swim in open water, find out how to stay safe when swimming in the great outdoors.
Where did the story come from?
The study was carried out by researchers from China Agricultural University in Beijing and Purdue University in the USA. It was funded by the Chinese Universities Scientific Fund, the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the National Swimming Pool Foundation in the USA.
The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science and Technology.
The Mail Online reports the study fairly, quoting a lot of information directly from the scientific paper itself. We suspect that a Chinese study published in a relatively obscure environmental health journal would not have garnered such coverage if it didn’t cover such a topic as public urination.
What kind of research was this?
Chlorine is used to disinfect pools, but it can react with other chemicals in the water – such as human bodily fluids – to produce potentially harmful chemicals. This was a laboratory study looking at the chemical reactions that occur as a result of the mixing of chlorine in pools and a chemical called uric acid, which is found mainly in urine, but also in sweat.
Previous studies have found that, on average, swimmers release between 0.2 and 1.8 litres of sweat (up to more than 3 pints) and between 25 and 117 millilitres of urine per swim (up to about half a cup of urine).
This study tells us about the chemical reactions that may occur in pools, but didn't look into the health effects of these. The researchers note in their introduction that nitrogen-containing disinfection byproducts (the substance produced by the reaction) “tend to be more genotoxic, cytotoxic and carcinogenic”.
What did the research involve?
In a lab, the researchers mixed chlorinated water with uric acid – or mixtures of chemicals designed to replicate human bodily fluids – under different conditions. They then monitored these to see if certain potentially harmful chemicals, called volatile nitrogen-containing disinfection by-products (N-DBPs), were formed, and how much of them there were. The word “volatile” means these chemicals easily form gases and can therefore be breathed in.
The researchers also collected water from swimming pools in China and analysed them in the lab. In some experiments, extra chlorine or uric acid was added to the pool water to see what chemicals were produced.
The two N-DBPs the researchers looked at (cyanogen chloride and trichloramine) are known to be formed at low levels as a byproduct of chlorination in pools. These chemicals are irritants and potentially harmful to the lungs, heart and the central nervous system above certain levels of exposure. It was already known that these chemicals can form as a result of the reaction between chlorine and amino acids (building blocks of protein that are also found in bodily fluids). However, whether chlorine has a similar effect when mixed with uric acid is unknown.
What were the basic results?
The researchers found that the reaction between the chlorinated water and uric acid in the lab produced both cyanogen chloride and trichloramine.
Swimming pool water analysis showed both cyanogen chloride and trichloramine in all samples. Adding extra uric acid to the swimming pool water led to more cyanogen chloride forming, but the effects on trichloramine levels were less consistent.
Experiments with solutions mimicking body fluids suggested that chlorination of uric acid may account for a considerable proportion of the cyanogen chloride formed in pools, but less of the trichloramine.
How did the researchers interpret the results?
The researchers concluded that as most uric acid is introduced into pools by urination, reducing this habit could lead to benefits in both pool and air chemistry.
This study suggests that certain, potentially harmful, byproducts of pool water chlorination result, in part, from a reaction to the uric acid found in urine.
The media coverage of this study is likely to be more of an excuse to run an amusing story about weeing in pools, rather than the study itself. The byproducts in question were already known to exist in pools, and to be formed from the reaction between chlorine and organic chemicals, such as those found in body fluids. The current study confirms that uric acid is one of the potential sources of these chemicals.
The only swimming pool water tested in this study was from China, and the exact types of disinfectant chemical used, levels of chlorine and extent of weeing in the pool may differ in pools from different countries.
At best, the practice of weeing in a pool is socially unacceptable; at worst, it may be a potential health hazard.
Links To The Headlines
Links To Science
Lian L, E Yue, Li J, Blatchley ER. Volatile disinfection byproducts resulting from chlorination of uric acid: Implications for swimming pools. Environmental Science and Technology. Published online February 25 2014
Spending at cash-strapped East Cambridgeshire District Council in January was up by more than £15,000 year-on-year.
GALLERY: Falling tree leaves woman hundreds of pounds out of pocket - and nobody wants to take the blame
A woman whose car was crushed when a tree fell in strong winds has been left hundreds of pounds out of pocket after two organisations refused to accept responsibility.