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12 Most Dangerous Bacteria According to the WHO: Here's What They Are and how to Avoid Them

antibiotic resistance, bacteria, WHO

According to the World Health Organization, these 12 bacteria are in desperate need of subduing by new antibiotics. Here's what you need to know about the bacteria and how best to prevent coming into contact with them.


Today WHO released a priority list of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that pose the most danger to people. The list is a call to action to researchers, doctors, and other scientists and health professionals to develop new pharmaceuticals to counteract them.

Here are a few from the list:

Three Dangerous Pneumonia-causing Bacteria

Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacteriaceae are three antibiotic-resistant bacteria that cause pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and infections to various organs. These bacteria's main mode of infection is opportunistic – only immune-compromised patients usually end up infected.

One good example are organ transplant cases. The bacteria are introduced into the body in some part of the surgery where the innards or transplanted organs are exposed. Another example are patients who are ill and their immune systems are already overworked.

As you can see, infection by these bacteria are most common in hospitals. They're antibiotic-resistant, and that's why WHO assistant director, Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, says that they're responsible for high death rates. Doctors just don't have anything effective to treat them with.

The best advice would be to prevent getting admitted to hospitals by maximizing and caring for your health each day.

Dangerous Bacteria From Eating the Wrong Food

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This might scare you more – common bacteria from food poisoning, like salmonella, are become more and more resistant to antibiotics. The WHO list places these in high priority: Salmonellae, Helicobacter pylori, and Campylobacter spp.. These three bacteria cause gastritis, ulcers, and other gut-related foodborne illnesses.

WHO says these bacteria can still be treated with some antibiotics and countermeasures, but they're increasingly becoming resistant to more and more antibiotics.

What can you do? Stop eating fast food, which have been known in the past to harbor foodborne disease outbreaks. If you're not cooking your own food, you can't know it was cooked right. That said, also make sure you're washing your vegetables (boiling is preferred for sanitation) and cooking your meat for long enough.

Gonorrhea Is Now Dangerous

Gonorrhea is one sexually-transmitted disease that can have no symptoms. That's scary because if you go untreated because you don't know you have it, it can cause permanent infertility.

But now gonorrhea is even scarier because WHO's list says it's getting increasingly resistant to antibiotics. That means that if you get it, your doctor may be faced with a challenge to find the right antibiotic to kill the bacteria in your system.

Thankfully, gonorrhea is easily avoidable. Don't have sex and don't do drugs. Sex should be saved for marriage and shared with only one person – your spouse. If you do fall prey to sin, make sure to use protection and your chances of getting this infertility-causing superbug may be lower.

If you're interested in learning about the other bacteria that WHO has called attention to, read the list and their publication for yourself.