London, June 14 : The concerns over 'newly emerging superbug' in hospitals have been over-hyped, suggest experts.
While writing in British Medical Journal, experts insist that warnings about emergence of Stenotrophomonas maltophilia (S maltophilia), including "no antibiotics can stop it" and "rising death toll in hospitals" have been unnecessarily exaggerated.
Georgia Duckworth and Alan Johnson, from the Health Protection Agency's Centre for Infections in London said that S maltophilia accounts for less than 1pct of all bloodstream infections in England and Wales.
The figures released from Health Protection Agency in 2007 also indicate that 4918 cases of bloodstream infection were caused by MRSA compared with 671 by S maltophilia, and Clostridium difficle caused over 50 000 cases of gastrointestinal infections.
The authors also said that S maltophilia infections do not spread very easily, and are treatable.
They suggested that the organism is, in reality, more deserving of the 'opportunist' rather than the 'superbug' label.
"We hope that this new knowledge of the organism's biology will help allay these [recent] concerns by being used to improve diagnostic tests, identify new drug targets, or even develop a vaccine", BMJ quoted the authors, as saying.
They point out that because it is relatively uncommon and treatable, it is unlikely that large scale interventions will be aimed specifically at S maltophilia, but interventions such as improved hospital hygiene and antibiotic stewardship will help prevent its spread and the emergence of multi-resistance.