Humans may be more likely to get infected by hospital antibiotic

By Steven D’Angelo and Richard M. Nicoll

Reinfection is more common in people treated with a commonly used antibiotic than people who received no such treatment, University of South Africa researchers said in a paper presented to the journal Lancet Respiratory Medicine on Thursday.

While prior studies have suggested that rifampin may lead to reinfection in some patients, the most recent study is the first to provide hard evidence that people hospitalized with complicated skin and soft tissue infections will be affected disproportionately, said Dr. John Smith, a professor in infectious diseases at UNISA and senior author of the paper.

The paper is a meta-analysis of 15 prior studies that analyzed the outcomes for patients, compared them with the outcomes of patients who received no treatment, and compared their outcomes to those of patients who received other antibiotic treatment such as intravenous vancomycin or daptomycin.

The findings suggest that between 20 and 90 percent of patients treated with rifampin for a skin or soft tissue infection, including giardiasis and cholera, will be reinfected, said Smith, who was not involved in the research. A reinfection is a reemergence of a previously treatable infection.

“Vitamin D rich environments, such as hospitals, generally do not produce sufficient immunity to the antibiotic that is given in clinical practice,” Smith told The Washington Post. “The emergence of new infectious pathogens inevitably increase the probability of reinfection.”

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