RI Hospital: Rise In Antibiotic Resistant Urinary Tract Infections

Mar 26, 2014

A Rhode Island Hospital study has found a rise in the number of antibiotic resistant urinary tract infections. That’s coupled with an overall increase in these kinds of infections throughout the state.

RI Hospital found an increasing number of urinary tract infections resistant to antibiotics.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Infectious disease specialists with Rhode Island Hospital studied hundreds of patients infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria between 2006 and 2011.  They found a significant increase in urinary tract infections, but they also found that more of those infections were probably acquired from catheters inserted in health care settings outside the hospital – such as long-term care facilities.

What’s more, they found that the antibiotics most often used to treat these patients outside the hospital aren’t working, suggesting that doctors should be reaching for something else as a first line of defense.

Dr. Leonard Mermel lead the study.

"And so that’s concerning for the practicing clinician out in the community who may widely use those drugs for urinary tract infection. And 20 years ago that was fine. The vast majority of the time it would work. And these days there’s a bit of a red flag."

Mermel says his work suggests that health care facilities are probably relying too heavily on catheters to remove urine. And that’s not only increasing the number of urinary tract infections but the amount of antibiotics being prescribed to control them.

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data on Rhode Island’s progress in reducing the number of hospital-acquired infections. In most categories, the state did worse than national benchmarks.