Multiresistant bacteria from recalled antibiotic found in two Danish patients

Denmark’s infectious disease control agency State Serum Institute (SSI) has detected the multiresistant bacteria CPO in a further two people who were treated with antibiotic medicine Dicillin.

Multiresistant bacteria from recalled antibiotic found in two Danish patients
Illustration photo. Danish health authorities have found new instances of multiresistant bacteria in patients who took recalled antibiotic Dicillin. Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Traces of the bacteria were found in an additional 12 patients, SSI said in a statement on Thursday. Two-thirds of those patients – eight in total – were previously treated with Dicillin before the multiresistant bacteria were detected.

The remaining four are still undergoing tests, according to the agency.

The discoveries mean that SSI has now found 25 people affected by the CPO outbreak, with 11 cases already registered.

The Danish Medicines Authority last month asked for persons using the antibiotic medicine Dicillin, produced by Sandoz, to return it to pharmacies to be replaced. That came after the multi-resistant bacteria known as CPO were detected in patients who had taken the antibiotic.

READ ALSO: How serious is Danish recall of antibiotic medicine?

None of the patients have suffered serious illness with the bacteria or received additional treatment, SSI said.

“This is not something that is dangerous for the individual patient. But we should naturally do whatever we can to prevent the spread of multiresistant bacteria,” medical director Tyra Grove Krause of SSI said in the statement.

Around 35,000 people were prescribed the antibiotic between September and December last year, according to Danish Patient Data Authority (Sundhedsdatastyrelsen) figures.

The number is potentially larger, as it was also sold after this period before the recall at the beginning of February.

CPO or carbapenemase-producing organisms are a group of bacteria that are resistant to several different types of antibiotics. They can be difficult to treat, according to information from the Danish Health Authority.

The risk of becoming seriously ill due to CPO is low for a healthy person, but people who are already ill or vulnerable can be at increased risk.

Infection with multiresistant bacteria can also mean all future hospital treatments for the affected person must be given in isolated rooms, so the bacteria are not passed on to other patients.

SSI first detected a particular CPO type which it had not previously seen in October last year. It initially suspected the bacteria could have spread at hospitals or been brought in via overseas travel before linking it to the antibiotic medicine Dicillin in February.

The Danish Patient Data Authority and SSI are now scrutinising how many people may have been exposed to the bacteria.

Krause previously told news wire Ritzau that “we have only seen the top” of the overall number.

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Foraging Danes warned not to mistake wild garlic for poisonous lookalike

Wild garlic, also known as ramsons or cowleek, can be gathered when spring comes around in Denmark, but the country’s food safety agency says says care must be taken not to pick a poisonous imposter for the edible wild plant.

Foraging Danes warned not to mistake wild garlic for poisonous lookalike

The wild garlic (ramsløg in Danish) season, which lasts from March until June, is set to arrive with early spring in Denmark. It is not uncommon for people in the Nordic country to pick the plant in the wild and use it for cooking, for example as an alternative to regular garlic or onion.

Care should be taken not to confuse the plant with its poisonous doppelgänger, the lily-of-the-valley (liljekonval), the Danish Veterinary and Food Safety Administration (Fødevarstyrelsen) said in a statement.

An advice line operated by the food safety agency, Giftlinjen, regularly receives calls in springtime from members of the public concerned they have eaten the wrong wild plant.

The lily-of-the-valley can cause serious food poisoning and be life-threatening in the most severe cases, the Food Safety Administration said in the statement.

“It can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and affect the heart rhythm and be life-threatening in the worst cases,” department manager Henrik Dammand of the Danish Veterinary and Food Safety Administration said .

“In other European countries, we have seen poisoning with lily-of-the-valley have fatal consequences,” he said.

The risk of confusing the two plants is higher early in the spring, before the more distinctive bell-shaped flowers blossom on the lily-of-the-valley.

Both plants have long, green leaves, the main feature which gives them similar appearances.

A good why to distinguish them is by smell, Dammand said.

While the wild garlic has a strong, garlic-like smell which gets stronger if the leaves are rubbed, the lily-of-the-valley is odourless.

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