Queensland: Dangerous superbug clones have successfully spread beyond the borders of the Middle East Gulf States, University of Queensland researchers have found. The superbug Acinetobacter baumannii, a bacteria well known for being antibiotic-resistant and associated with dangerous hospital-acquired infections and subsequent outbreaks, has been found in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain. The University of Queensland lead the first region-wide collaborative study on superbugs (antibiotic-resistant bacteria) in the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Mr Zowawi said the study found certain A. baumannii clones resistant to last-line antibiotics prevalent in all Gulf States.
“Our study found multiple clones of this particular superbug have
found their ways to different cities in the Gulf States,” he said.
“Most notably, we found a big cluster of bacteria with identical
genetic fingerprints in Riyadh, Khobar, Kuwait, Manama, Muscat and Abu
Dhabi, which is a very unusual finding.
“We used to see clones of this bacteria spreading inside individual
hospitals and causing outbreaks from patient-to-patient transmission,
but we have never before encountered a clone that is scattered across
the entire (Arabian) Peninsula.
“We anticipate this finding should encourage collaboration between
clinical, veterinary and environmental microbiologists to understand
where these clones originate from, how they find their way into our
hospitals and what is making them successful travellers.
“Answering these mysteries will potentially suggest interventions to limit future international spread.”
Professor Paterson highlighted the need for hospitals to work together to combat the regional spread of superbugs.
“The results of this study will hopefully encourage hospitals to
implement or strengthen effective infection control precautions to
minimise the risk of spreading superbugs between patients, hospitals and
across international borders,” he said.
Centre researchers are collaborating with environmental
microbiologists at King Abdullah University for Science and Technology
in Saudi Arabia to identify the link between superbugs found in
environmental settings to those associated with clinical infections.
Findings from this research are available in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.