healthcare-associated infections

This blog is part of the Early Diagnosis campaign #BeFirst Early diagnosis and care can prevent illness from developing and slow disease progression. Lab tests, genetic tests, tests for chronic diseases and modern lab diagnostics can help facilitate earlier intervention and improves outcomes for patients and are increasingly valuable in informing treatment choice. Read the other blogs here: A smarter way to fight colorectal cancer , Can screening decrease lung cancer mortality rates? , Kidney Disease: catch it early to save lives and money , For kidney disease patients, treatment education and choice are key to better outcomes , Diagnosing severe hearing loss and deafness **************************************** The impact of cervical cancer can be reduced by timely detection of the viruses that cause it. Early detection of cancer-causing human papillomaviruses (HPV) allows prompt intervention, sparing women the trauma of disease – and saving lives. Cervical cancer strikes women in the prime of their lives. The median age for diagnosis is 49 – when people are likely to be active in work and family life – but the virus that causes the disease may have been present for decades before cancer was detected. One in 100 women in Europe will develop cervical cancer in their lifetime. In addition to anxiety and pain, the disease can severe reproductive health issues and, in some cases, premature death. 14 types of human papillomaviruses are known to cause the disease. HPV 16 and HPV 18 are the highest risk types, accounting for more than 70% of cases. HPV is a very common virus, transmitted by skin-to-skin contact. There’s no shame in carrying the virus – most people have it at some point in their lives. In fact, close to 80% of all sexually active adults will get HPV. The good news is that the virus often...
This blog is part of the Early Diagnosis campaign #BeFirst Early diagnosis and care can prevent illness from developing and slow disease progression. Lab tests, genetic tests, tests for chronic diseases and modern lab diagnostics can help facilitate earlier intervention and improves outcomes for patients and are increasingly valuable in informing treatment choice. Read the other blogs here: A smarter way to fight colorectal cancer , Why should we prevent cervical cancer? Because we can , Diagnosing severe hearing loss and deafness , Can screening decrease lung cancer mortality rates? , Kidney Disease: catch it early to save lives and money and For kidney disease patients, treatment education and choice are key to better outcomes . ************************************* Advances in diagnostic technologies give patients same-day test results for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea. This helps ease patient anxiety, can reduce the risk of infecting others and facilitates appropriate use of antibiotics – helping the fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Let’s be honest – nobody relishes the prospect of visiting a Sexual Health clinic. Those who make the trip often have symptoms and are worried that they may have an infection. In many cases, they face an anxious wait for results to come back from the lab. When I started working in the public health system in the UK, parts of the patient experience of Sexual Health services were far from ideal. Health professionals would take samples which were collected daily and taken to a lab. Results were sent back to the clinic around one week later and then there was further delay in notifying the patient of their results. For patients, it was a worrying wait. One of the most pioneering clinics was at Dean Street Express (DSE) in London’s Soho district. There, the team developed a...
International efforts to tackle the hepatitis pandemic have reached new heights, especially in the past year since the 69 th World Health Assembly (WHA) endorsed the Global Health Sector Strategy (GHSS) on viral hepatitis 2016–2021 . It is estimated that some 325 million people worldwide are living with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection alone, and a large portion of these people lack access to life-saving testing and treatment. As a result, millions are at risk of chronic liver disease, cancer and death. To this end, the GHSS calls for the elimination of all types of viral hepatitis (A, B, C, D & E) as a public health threat by 2030 ‒ reducing new infections by 90% and mortality by 65%. Indeed, mortality caused by viral hepatitis is on the rise, with 1.4 million deaths believed to be caused by the disease in 2015. The focus is on HBV and HCV, both blood-borne infections that are responsible for 96% of all hepatitis mortality. Medtech’s contribution On a positive note, a Global Hepatitis Report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in April 2017 says that eliminating viral hepatitis is “technically feasible”. Medical technology will play a critical role. The report points out, for example, that key innovations include rapid serological tests to detect antibodies to HCV as well as point-of-care tests to diagnose HCV infection. Newer and cheaper point-of-care rapid tests, such as those for HBV and affordable ones for HCV, could accelerate the elimination of hepatitis. The WHO’s first-ever viral hepatitis testing guidelines recommend the use of rapid diagnostic tests for hard-to-reach populations and targeted testing in groups most affected by HBV and HCV, such as people who inject drugs, those with HIV and children of mothers with HBV or HCV infection. Simple and...
Surgical Site Infections (SSIs) were high on the agenda at the 4 th International Conference on Prevention & Infection Control (ICPIC) last week in Geneva. And it’s no surprise given the statistics - although no global registry exists to track surgical site infections, health authorities estimate that each year, one in five patients undergoing surgery acquires an infection. It is difficult to calculate the financial burden this places on health systems but NICE has suggested a cost of £700m a year in the UK. Whereas, in the US, the annual cost has been estimated to range from $3.5 billion to$10 billion . What the global cost must be is unknown, but there’s no doubt that it will be high. And this is an epidemic that knows no boundaries – from the most advanced, specialist healthcare centers to the most basic clinics, from the elderly and infirm to the young and healthy; there is unfortunately, a very real possibility of contracting an SSI. What’s also shocking is that approximately 50% of SSIs may be preventable . And with this in mind, the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued global guidelines on the prevention of SSIs. This was a hotly debated topic of conversation during a symposium, held at last week’s conference – where several leading wound closure specialists came together to discuss the latest advancements and recommendations to ease the burden of SSIs. One innovation discussed was the use of antibacterial sutures. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests triclosan-coated sutures are an important tool in the fight against SSIs. The WHO has highlighted the use of triclosan-coated sutures across all types of surgery to reduce the risk of SSI, and further support has followed from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the American College of Surgeons/Surgical...

David Leaper

University of Huddersfield and University of Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Today is European Antibiotic Awareness Day. Tackling the era of superbugs should be a team sport. Physicians, companies, foundations and the MedTech industry all want to play their part.
The WHO has been raising the ‘threat level’ on this issue progressively each year for the last decade, with individual disease reports highlighting the emerging threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This year’s report however highlights this pandemic like never before, demonstrating it’s global nature and its profound impact on health and economics. I’m a cardiologist and the report speaks to me - actually it screams out loud: “We need to get our act together”.