Armed forces ‘superbug’ menaces UK
‘The UK, the United States and Canada are facing growing fears over a drug-resistant ‘superbug’ being brought back by wounded soldiers from Afghanistan and Iraq that threatens to contaminate civilian hospitals.
The intensified concern comes amid sharply rising infection rates in the US and fresh worries in Canada that the bug could be imported into its civilian healthcare system. Military health officials who have studied the bacterium in Afghanistan believe the infection of wounded British soldiers in field hospitals there is probably inevitable. [..]
The bacterium, Acinetobacter baumannii, first emerged as a ‘mystery infection’ afflicting US service personnel returning from the war in Iraq in 2003-04. It was described by a scientific journal specialising in hospital epidemiology as the ‘most important emerging hospital-acquired pathogen worldwide’. The journal added that it was potentially a ‘major threat to public health’ due to its ability to mutate rapidly and develop a resistance to all known drugs.’