Medical Community Worries About Superbugs

Infections caused by superbugs, drug-resistant bacteria, are forecasted to increase in the United States at alarming rates if no action is taken soon. However, if a plan for national effort against superbugs would be designed, this could prevent more than half a million infections in five years, according to the new study's findings.

In the 2011, in the United States, 310,000 cases of infection from four types of super-resistant bacteria were registered by medical statistics. These super-resistant bacteria strains usually acquired in hospitals: invasive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), and Clostridium difficile. These drug resistant bacteria may cause from mild symptoms to severe illness and even death. For example, Infections with C. difficile may cause severe diarrhea but they are not usually resistant to antibiotics. However, those patients who take antibiotics are becoming more prone to these infections.

According to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the next five years, the number of infections with different strains of superbugs is estimated to increase to 340,000 per year, a rise of 10 percent.

However, the same study explains that if health professionals take immediate action to implement better prevention mentions against the spread of these diseases, and if people would start using antibiotics more judiciously, more than 37,000 deaths and 600,000 infections could be prevented over the next five years.

An even more effective approach would be coordinating efforts between hospitals rather than individual hospitals working by themselves, the study found. For instance, when a patient who suffers from an antibiotic-resistant infection is transferred between hospitals, the health care professionals should notify the new hospital about the bacteria.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, declared that the United States is dealing with a growing threat of antibiotic-resistant infections in health care settings, which are killing thousands and thousands of people each year. He added that the health care system can find ways to dramatically reduce the number of these infections by improving infection control and antibiotic use.

According to the study, the institution based efforts to prevent transmission of the antibiotic resistant infections have been inadequate so far. The study was published this week in the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 

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