Superbugs: A Harsh Reality in Healthcare

CDCThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that the epidemic of drug-resistant germs in the U.S. has become a grave concern—with over two million people now being infected every year. Moreover, these infections cause approximately 23,000 deaths on an annual basis, and these numbers are only expected to grow until some type of solution is acquired. The problem is that up to half of all prescriptions for antibiotics are, in fact, unnecessary, and now none of them are strong enough to kill these developing superbugs. One example is a group of ‘nightmare’ bacteria (known as CREs) that resist even the strongest antibiotics, which includes Klebsiella Pneumoniae that saw a 550% spike in infection rate between 2001 and 2011.

The following is a list of additional facts that the CDC included in their recent report:

  • The biggest threat is the drug-resistant germ known as C. difficile, which has many undesirable side effects and is now being treated by a transplant of ‘good bacteria’ from other healthy patients.
  • A key example of how quickly bacteria becomes resistant to drugs is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureas (MRSA)—which evolved just two years after methicillin hit the market in 1960.
  • The latest antibiotic to be introduced to the public was in 2010 with ceftaroline; unfortunately, within just one year, the first staph germ emerged that completely resisted its effects.
  • Other problems compounding the overuse of antibiotics are when people do not finish taking their entire prescription, and the heavy supply of antibiotics given to farm animals that are not sick in the first place.

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