Drug-resistant Superbugs Found in 3 States
A superbug has caused people to become sick in three states in the U.S as well as Canada. The bug is also starting to pop up all over the world.
The drug-resistant superbugs found in 3 states has mostly been found in a bacteria that causes urinary infections. The gene responsible is called NDM-1 and can be spread via a person to person route. It can enter the body due to hand to mouth contamination. It then builds a drug resistance in the body. All of the known cases seem to have been contracted by people traveling to India for medical procedures.
A superbug gene capable of resisting almost all antibiotics, including the usually effective and powerful carbapenems, has been identified, according to the Lancet Infectious Diseases Journal.
Disease specialists never wanted to see the day that conventional antibiotics fail to do their job. More concerning is how quickly a drug resistant strain can spread. Dr. M. Lindsay Grayson, director of infectious diseases at the University of Melbourne in Australia said, "It's just a matter of time" until the gene spreads more widely from one human to another. Time is something that is in short supply when battling infectious diseases. Unlike flu scares in the past, many doctors who specialize in infectious diseases are preparing for the worst case scenario.
The human body can eventually become immune to certain antibiotics if they are overused. Thus it is crucial to only use antibiotics when critical to health. Don't pester the doctor for an antibiotic if he or she has said you do not need one. A cold is not caused by bacteria and thus an antibiotic is not needed to cure it. Also, if an antibiotic is prescribed take the drug exactly as prescribed. Also take all of the medication prescribed. Stopping the drug part way through the prescription can cause the body to build up tolerance to that drug.
The bacteria now poses a worldwide threat, warned experts attending the 50th annual meeting of the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC), the world's largest gathering of infectious disease specialists. "There is an urgent need, first, to put in place an international surveillance system over the coming months and, second, to test all the patients admitted to any given health system" wherever possible, said Patrice Nordmann of Bicetre Hospital in France.
Unlike other multi-drug resistant bugs reported during the last 20 years, NDM "brings several additional factors of deep concern for public health," said Patrice Nordmann of France's Bicetre Hospital. For example, scientists have determined that the NDM gene "is very mobile, hopping from one bacteria to another," he said.
Specialists can help "stem the onslaught of DNM producers" through "early identification of the very first cases of NDM-related infections and preventing their spread by implementing screening, hygiene measures and isolation of carriers," Nordmann said.
Measures have already been approved in France, and are being negotiated in Japan, Singapore and China, said Nordmann, a microbiology professor at South-Paris Medical School and head of Bicetre's department of bacteriology and virology.