Anaerobes matter!™

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Anaerobes matter!

Anaerobic bacteria constitute a large and heterogenous group of microorganisms that are, more or less, susceptible to oxygen. Many species belong to the human normal micro-flora and are important for our well-being. However, under certain conditions like trauma, poor blood supply, surgery or malignancy, anaerobic bacteria can seize the opportunity to spread and thrive at the “wrong” body sites causing severe infections. These infections require rapid diagnosis and treatment.

Simple mistakes in the sampling of specimens for testing in clinical bacteriology laboratories can cause pre-analytical errors resulting in defective diagnosis and lead to delayed or erroneous treatment decisions. This in turn can result in severe consequences, such as morbidity and mortality. If this wasn’t enough, antimicrobial resistance among anaerobic bacteria is increasing.

Moreover, the health care system is losing vital competence, as a great part of active microbiologists with expertise in anaerobes are reaching retiring age in the near future. This situation applies to Sweden as well as other countries. The human competence necessary to identify and handle anaerobic bacteria needs to be sustained and effectively transferred to younger colleagues.

Current undergraduate programmes have little or no education on anaerobes, leaving the duty to maintain vital knowledge on the clinical labs themselves. Interviews with staff members and persons in charge at clinical laboratories performed during 2017 in Sweden confirmed our assessment that progressive education in anaerobic bacteriology is desired. Over-booked face-to face courses held by diANox in recent years have confirmed the crucial need and interest in professional education on this topic.

diANox will meet this increasing medical and educational need by developing tailored educational solutions for specific target groups (nurses, clinicians and lab-personnel). Courses and pedagogical materials suitable for e-learning online and live seminars will be developed in close contact with the end users to tailor the educational design to the special requirements of each profession. The end-users of the education programs will be well up-dated to a reasonable cost. Rapid diagnosis and correct treatment of anaerobic infections is beneficial for the patients as they will suffer less, and the length of hospital stay can be shortened, thereby contributing to reduced costs for the health care system and society.

The first online course model on anaerobic bacteriology is due to be released by diANox in the spring of 2019.