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Lab that finds bugs where others do not (MRSA)

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Monkey see Monkey Do Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:38 PM
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Lab that finds bugs where others do not (MRSA)
A while ago an investigative television journalist friend rang me up. "I just went undercover to take some MRSA swabs for my filthy hospital superbug scandal," he said, "but they all came back negative. What am I doing wrong?" Always happy to help, I suggested he swab somewhere else instead. Ten minutes later, I heard from him again. He'd just spoken to a tabloid health journalist who had told him which lab to use: "the lab that gives positive results when others do not" was how he described it to me.

What lab was this? Step up Northants-based Chemsol Consulting, and director Christopher Malyszewicz. If you see an MRSA superbug positive swab scandal, the chances are it came from his lab.

In fact, people have taken swabs from the very same hospitals given massive MRSA finds by Chemsol, sent them to other reputable mainstream labs, or their own, and got nothing. An academic paper by eminent microbiologists describing this process in relation to one hospital has been published in a peer reviewed academic journal, then loudly ignored by everyone in the media except little me. So how do we explain this extraordinary phenomenon? A phenomenon so replicable that even tabloid journalists are - uniquely - familiar with the ability of various different research laboratories to give different results?

First let's clarify one thing: there probably are plenty of nasty hospitals that aren't as clean as we'd like them to be, and deaths from MRSA are tragic. Certainly the UK has more MRSA than many other countries, an observed phenomenon which could of course be put down to various different causes. But we're looking at the issue of one private laboratory, with an awful lot of business from undercover journalists doing stories on MRSA, that seems to give an awful lot of positive results where other labs do not. I asked Dr Malyszewicz why this happened. He said he did not know, and suggested that the microbiologists might be taking swabs from the wrong place at the wrong times. I asked why he thought the tabloids chose his lab (producing almost 20 articles). He did not know. I asked why various microbiologists have said he has refused to tell them about his full methods when they wanted to replicate and validate them in their own labs. He says this is not true.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1592758,...

(reprinted on authors website with comments:
http://www.badscience.net/?p=179 )

see also:

60 Minutes and the mop of death
http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s1406193.h...
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