Squashing a superbug

September 26, 2013




Managing Editor


The term superbug does not just refer to the transformer-looking grasshoppers hiding out in the backyard; recently, it has become a popular term for drug-resistant diseases that are rapidly growing in the United States.


According to a recent report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 2 million people have developed life-threatening bacterial infections that are resistant to multiple types of antibiotics.


This resistance to antibiotics has led to at least 23,000 deaths from infections in the last year.


It is a scary fact to think that antibiotics were able to cure almost anything and how they have become almost useless.


How did this happen?


Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, said the bug’s resistance is due to over prescription of antibiotics.


By resorting to antibiotics in so many instances to cure illnesses, doctors have given the pathogens and bacteria the opportunity to be more powerful than the drugs used to treat them.


When antibiotics are consumed, the targeted bacteria are killed for months.


This in turn weakens the immune system and provides a solid foundation for bacterial invaders to reproduce and strengthen.


Of the growing drug-resistant bacteria, there are three in the United States that have been reported as urgent threats.


These threats are CRE, also called the nightmare bacteria, Neisseria gonorrhea and C. difficile.


Edward Septimus, an infectious disease expert at HCA Healthcare System in Houston, said all of these organisms are increasing at an alarming rate with limited treatments.


“I do believe it is a looming public health crisis,” he said.


Both Frieden and Septimus said professionals are responding to the rapid growing diseases, and intensive research is being performed to try to develop new drugs to stop these bacterial killers.


The most dangerous concept about these bacterial infections is the way in which they are contracted.


It can be as simple as physical contact with another person.


The need to be extra sanitary and observant of one’s surroundings is even greater now.


These statistics and this information are not meant to bring on paranoia, but they are meant to educate and inform and make the public aware of the microscopic dangers that could take their lives.


Some of these infections have unnoticed symptoms, so by the time they are detected it could be too late.


Be aware, be observant and be smart, and next time, wash your hands before and after using the restroom. Prevention has to start somewhere.


Kelsy Kershaw is a junior journalism  and MCS major from Jennings who serves as managing editor for The Tech Talk. Email comments to kjk016@latech.edu.



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