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Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Can Physicians Protect You From Superbugs?

By Maryse IsmaSpecial to CSMS MagazineNew Strains of drug-resistant bacteria, known as “superbugs”, now are being reported with alarming frequency according to numerous studies. This is a serious problem. These bacteria are responsible for an increasing number of infections, including pneumonia, sinusitis and ear infections. In fact, bacteria that once responded to antibiotics now are resistant to one or more of these infections-fighting medications.            For example, the staphylococcus aureus bacterium, known as staph, is among the most common causes of infection. About half of the staph found in intensive-care units can’t be killed with the main form of treatment—penicillin-like antibiotics. Drug-resistant forms of staph can cause runaway infection that can’t be treated with these standard drugs.            With few new antibiotics in the development pipeline, doctors now worry that even potent antibiotics, such as vancomycin (Vancocin), soon will be rendered ineffective. Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself and your family from superbugs…

How Resistance Develops…

 

When a patient takes an effective antibiotic, the drug kills most of the infection, causing bacteria. A few organisms may survive because they have developed characteristics that make them resistant to the drug. Because the other bacteria have been eradicated, these organisms become the majority. When they multiply, they can create the superbug bacteria that don’t respond to previously effective drugs.

             These superbugs are transmitted to others the same way all bacteria are transmitted, through physical contact or droplets spread in the air by coughing or sneezing. Because bacteria multiply and mutate far more quickly than scientists can develop new antibiotics, there may be fewer available treatments for common—and potentially life threatening infections. Patients stay sick longer, and the risk for complications rises.

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