Superbug Illnesses on the Rise
A recent report from federal regulatory agencies showed that superbug illnesses and deaths are on the rise, infecting millions of people every year. A “superbug” is defined as a bacteria or virus that has a wide range of resistance to multiple classes of antibiotics. Antibiotics are drugs that are designed to either kill or stop the replication of bacteria or viruses. Countless people rely on these prescription medications to fight both common and rare illnesses.
Unfortunately, one of the major problems regarding infections is that antibiotic resistance is quickly increasing. This is exemplified by the rapid rise in the number and infectivity of superbugs. Therefore, there is some important information that everyone needs to know.
How Does Antibiotic Resistance Develop?
The primary danger of superbugs is that medical professionals have a hard time treating them. When someone has been diagnosed with an infection, doctors will try to identify the exact species of bacteria that the patient has contracted. Then, doctors will test the bacteria to figure out which antibiotics will kill the infection.
Unfortunately, doctors have been having a hard time. There has been a rise in bacteria that are resistant to a large number of antibiotics, limiting the drugs doctors can employ. This resistance develops gradually in bacterial populations through evolution. When doctors use antibiotics to treat an infection, all bacterial cells that are susceptible to that treatment will die. This leaves only bacteria that are resistant to that antibiotic. These bacteria continue to grow and replicate, creating a population of bacteria that are resistant to that specific antibiotic.
This means that pharmacists and researchers need to come up with new antibiotics to kill those specific bacteria. Sadly, bacterial resistance is increasing faster than researchers can come up with new drugs. This is the crux of how a superbug develops.
A Resistant Illness Can Develop Through a Common Infection
There are numerous examples of bacteria developing resistance through even common infections. In children, one of the most common illnesses is an ear infection. Some kids have more germs than others, mostly due to small variations in ear anatomy. These variations make some kids more susceptible to ear infections than others.
Kids who have multiple ear infections often require a wide range of antibiotics to treat subsequent illnesses. On the first trip to the doctor, the child might be prescribed oral amoxicillin (a pink liquid). However, if the child has three infections in a single year, the child might need injections of an antibiotic called ceftriaxone to fight the last illnesses. Some kids may need to have ear tubes placed to prevent future infections from happening. While an ear infection is a long way from what most people call a “superbug,” deadly diseases develop resistance through similar mechanisms.
How is Superbug Treated?
So far, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned about over a dozen “superbugs’ that have resistance across broad classes of antibiotics. Most of these bugs proliferate in areas where antibiotics are used frequently, such as hospitals and nursing homes. In some cases, there might not be any antibiotic that will work against a superbug. This makes these bugs particularly deadly, possibly leading to sepsis.
In cases where there isn’t an antibiotic option, doctors turn to non-drug treatment options, such as surgical removal. Right now, more antibiotics are being developed; however, it might be some time before these drugs are ready. In the meantime, patients need to be wary of superbugs and the risk they pose.
Watch YouTube Video: Rise of the Superbug – Antibiotic-Resistance Bacteria. In this TEDx Talks video, Dr. Karl Klose with South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Disease discusses the rise of the superbug in our country and what can be done to prevent it from spreading.
Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer. A superbug is a dangerous pathogen that has a wide range of antibiotic resistance. If someone you care about has fallen ill due to the negligence of another person, call me for free, friendly advice at (916) 921-6400 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400.
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