From The Independent:
"Injured soldiers returning from Iraq have brought back a superbug that has been linked with outbreaks in NHS hospitals where they have been treated, a health minister has confirmed. The links between casualties brought back from Iraq and outbreaks in the NHS have caused alarm within the health service and led to renewed demands for more dedicated wards for Britain's armed forces to enable wounded soldiers to be isolated more effectively.
The Health Protection Agency has urged NHS hospitals to step up their infection control measures as a result of the outbreaks of a strain of the superbug Acinetobacter baumannii which is resistant to many types of antibiotics.
"A multi-resistant strain of A. baumannii known as the 'T strain' has been isolated from casualties returning to the UK from Iraq," the Health minister Andy Burnham said in a Commons written answer.
He said the exact source of the infection had not been identified but US casualties returning to America had also been found to be carrying the superbug.
Experts in microbiology who were studying the links between the infection and those wounded in Iraq, said an injured soldier thought to have caught the infection in Iraq may have caused a large outbreak of the superbug in an intensive care unit in an NHS hospital in south-east England.
They reported that the superbug was also found in two hospitals in the Midlands in soldiers who had been injured while serving in Iraq. The HPA said last night it was thought the T-strain survived in soil and sand in warm climates such as Iraq.
At one hospital in Birmingham the bacteria is reported to have infected 93 people, 91 of them civilians. Thirty-five died, although the hospital was not able to establish whether the superbug was a contributory factor.
A. baumannii is resistant to most common antibiotics and, if left untreated, can lead to pneumonia, fever and septicemia. It has been identified in more than 240 military personnel in the US since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and has been associated with five deaths."
Wow! I haven't heard a peep about this in the US media. I haven't even heard of this bacteria. Could this possibly be Saddam's biological dead man's switch?
And what the hell is with the Brits' use of the term "superbug"? It's kind of "super obnoxious". I like how this thing already has a sinister sounding shorthand... the "t-strain."
I'll keep you all posted, of course, on this new nasty bastard.