'Alarming' levels of drug-resistant bacteria found in ICU patients, study says

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Researchers found alarming levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in sepsis patients admitted to an intensive care unit in Delhi, India, according to a study published Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control.

The researchers studied the prevalence of the bacteria Escherichia coli in patients admitted to ICUs. They isolated E. coli strains from the blood of patients in the ICU and diagnosed with sepsis. They also isolated these bacteria from feces of patients who did not have sepsis. 

They then found the different strains of E. coli by using molecular techniques and assessed their response to several antibiotics, including cephalosporins. 

Most of the bacteria found in the patients belonged to two strains of E. coli known to cause diarrhea, the researchers found. When these bacteria were treated with antibiotics, the researchers said their results were alarming.

"Antibiotic susceptibility results showed that more than 70 percent of the [fecal] E. coli isolates and more than 90 percent of the blood isolates were resistant to all of the cephalosporins tested," the researchers wrote.

The researchers also found these bacterial strains were mostly resistant to other classes of antibiotics. 

"Continuous surveillance and rational use of antibiotics, along with effective hygienic measures, are urgently needed," the researchers concluded.

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