Intended for healthcare professionals



BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 26 June 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:1774

Vancomycin is a therapeutic last resort against antibiotic resistantStreptococcus pneumoniae, a leading cause of meningitis. Now scientists from Sweden have isolated a strain of the pathogen tolerant to a wide range of antibiotics including vancomycin (Nature 1999;399:590-3). Tolerance—the ability to survive but not grow in the presence of an antibiotic—is the precursor to full blown resistance, but it is much more difficult to detect in the laboratory. Fortunately, we know the exact mutation that caused the tolerance, which should help biotechnologists stay one step ahead.

Women attending colposcopy clinics are often anxious and badly informed. Sadly, informing them may not make them any less anxious (British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 1999;106:528-34). In a randomised controlled trial of 200 women, information leaflets had no impact on anxiety scores either at the clinic or six months later. More sophisticated approaches such as precolposcopy clinics should be investigated, say the authors.

The Finnish food control authorities are urging large canteens and kitchens not to serve uncooked desserts made with imported frozen raspberries, after they were found to be responsible for an outbreak of gastroenteritis affecting 500 staff in one company (Eurosurveillance 1999;4:66-8). Communicable disease experts suspect the berries were contaminated with a …

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