A “Superbug” has the US government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extremely concerned.
Several antibiotic-resistant infections including ones dubbed “nightmare bacteria” and “super gonorrhea” are killing nearly 25,000 Americans every year. Some medical experts and the CDC believe the over-prescription of antibiotics is to blame.
A CDC report recently released stated that each year approximately 2 million Americans develop “serious bacterial infections” which are resistant to at least one or more antibiotics. The diarrhea-causing Superbug and an ever-increasing type of bacteria which are not healed by prescription medications are now called “urgent public health” threats by the disease control and prevention agency because of the overuse of antibiotics.
“For organism after organism, we’re seeing this steady increase in resistance rates,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden said in an interview with the New York Daily News. “We don’t have new drugs about to come out of the pipeline. If and when we get new drugs, unless we do a better job of protecting them, we’ll lose those, also.”
Due to the overprescribing of antibiotics, pathogens reportedly have the capability to “outwit” the drugs which had typically been used successfully in treatment in the same or similar ailments.
In recent years, only a handful of new prescription antibiotic medications have made it to the market, and now just a few drug manufacturers are in the process of replacing them.
The CDC said:
- “The use of antibiotics is the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance around the world. … Up to half of antibiotic use in humans and much of antibiotic use in animals is unnecessary or inappropriate.
- “The loss of effective antibiotic treatments will not only cripple the ability to fight routine infectious diseases but will also undermine treatment of infectious complications in patients with other diseases.” For instance, joint replacements, organ transplants, and cancer therapies all are dependent on antibiotics working.
Meanwhile, medical officials in England also issued reports and warnings about a potential “catastrophic health threat” last year after the World Health Organization (WHO) discovered a Superbug gonorrhea strain in multiple European nations.
The urgent health threat spurred by the Superbug report is the first time the Centers for Disease Control has categorized drug-resistant bacteria strains and illnesses. A Tufts University report noted that some “bad bacteria” are naturally resilient to antibiotics. The evaluation went on to state that some forms of bacteria develop a resistance by genetically mutating in a spontaneous manner or by “swapping genes” with other types of bugs. The CDC has drafted a four-step plan to help thwart the mounting antibiotic resistance problem. Better government tracking of drug-resistance bacteria and the ability to spot emerging threats and develop new antibiotics quickly to treat the ailments are among the initiatives in the health threat plan.
Superbug bacteria on the CDC urgent health threats list, according to CNN.com:
Neisseria gonorrhoeae – “The drug-resistant form of this bacteria causes gonorrhea, the second most commonly reported infection in the United States. Gonorrhea can cause a variety of illnesses in men and women, including infertility. The CDC estimates there are 820,000 infections each year.”
Clostridium Difficile – “A bacteria that can cause life-threatening diarrhea. It kills up to 14,000 people and causes a quarter million hospitalizations each year. Most patients who get this potentially deadly infection are on antibiotics for other infections, according to the health warning.”
CRE bacteria – “This family of germs called includes E. Coli. Some CRE bacteria are reportedly resistant to all known antibiotics. The Centers for Disease Controls stated that more than 9,000 infections are contracted in hospitals and other medical care centers from this type of bacteria. Approximately 50 percent of patients die due to the lack of treatment options.”