Travelers haul in "super germs"

Taking antibiotics while on vacation increases the risk of infection by resistant to no drastic

ESBL bacteria are also resistant to newer antibiotics © CDC / Melissa Brower
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Dangerous souvenirs: Multiple resistant bacteria are increasingly being brought in by long-distance travelers: After all, one in five carries dangerous so-called ESBL germs in their intestines - without even realizing it. But it gets even more serious when antibiotics are taken on the way: Then the infection rate rises even to 80 percent, as researchers found.

Resistant bacteria continue to spread - and the modern, globalized society helps them to do so. In the meantime even a new super germ can be discovered in Brazil, spreading relatively quickly to other regions of the world. Also the European resistant resistant strain of the pathogen Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is native to Africa.

Distribution by tourist express

Anu Kantele from the University of Helsinki and his colleagues have now investigated what promotes the transmission of resistant bacteria from one region to another. They collected stool samples from 430 Finns before and after they traveled to a tropical or subtropical country and asked the travelers afterwards about their state of health. They analyzed them specifically for traces of resistant bacteria from the group of Enterobacteriaceae. These produce enzymes, so-called extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBL), which also make newer antibiotics ineffective.

As it turned out, 90 subjects had ESBL-producing bacteria in their intestines after their journey - that's 21 percent. Particularly high was the proportion of those who were traveling in Southeast Asia and South Asia or North Africa. "More than 300 million people visit these high-risk regions each year, " says Kantele. "If only about 20 percent of them are infected with the bacteria, then that's a really large number - this is a serious matter." Because the returnees can then spread the "super germs" in their homeland.

Colonies of the ESBL germ Acinetobacter baumanii on nutrient medium - they were probably introduced from the Middle East. CDC

Unannounced Durchseuchung

But even more seriously, those who took antibiotics during the trip, for example, because of a diarrhea, were even infected to 80 percent and that, although the Durchfüllle itself not by the ESBL bacteria ausge had been. Anyone who is infected, usually does not notice, because the bacteria do not immediately make everyone sick, as the researchers explain. They usually become dangerous only when the wearer's immune system is weak or he infects people who are immune-deficient. display

The researchers therefore warn against taking too early and unnecessarily antibiotics on a journey. "Travelers should first use non-antibiotic drugs for diarrhea, " said Kantele. "Because most cases of travel diarrhea are mild and go away on their own."

Only in severe cases, when high fever, blood in the stool or severe dehydration come to an antibiotic should be taken. According to the scientists, the health authorities in the European countries should also be more enlightened here. (Clinical Infectious Diseases, 2015; doi: 10.1093 / cid / ciu957)

(Oxford University Press, 22.01.2015 - NPO)