5 Common Superbug Infections Caused by Bacteria
Superbugs are strains of bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi that are resistant to most of the antibiotics and other medications commonly used to treat the infections that they cause. Since the inception of antibiotics, the bacteria they treat have been adapting and changing in order to build up resistance. These antibiotic-resistant bacteria are called superbugs, and they can cause severe bacterial infections that are extremely difficult to treat.
Each year, superbugs infect more than 2 million people and kill at least 23,000 people nationwide. With such a large number of people being affected by superbug infections each year, it is vital to take precautions to prevent them from spreading.
What are Superbugs and How are They Made?
The term superbug was originally coined “by the media to describe bacteria that cannot be killed using multiple antibiotics.” However, “doctors often use phrases like ‘multidrug-resistant bacteria’ rather than ‘superbug.’ That’s because a superbug isn’t necessarily resistant to all antibiotics.”
Superbugs aren’t specific types of bacteria; all bacteria species can turn into superbugs. “Misusing antibiotics (such as taking them when you don’t need them or not finishing all of your medicine) is the single leading factor contributing to this problem, the CDC says. The concern is that eventually doctors will run out of antibiotics to treat them.”
Or worse, they won’t react to antibiotics at all. “When used properly, antibiotics can help destroy disease-causing bacteria. But if you take an antibiotic when you have a viral infection like the flu, the drug won’t affect the viruses making you sick.
Instead, it’ll destroy a wide variety of bacteria in your body, including some of the ‘good’ bacteria that help you digest food, fight infection, and stay healthy. Bacteria that are tough enough to survive the drug will have a chance to grow and quickly multiply. These drug-resistant strains may even spread to other people.
Over time, if more and more people take antibiotics when not necessary, drug-resistant bacteria can continue to thrive and spread. They may even share their drug-resistant traits with other bacteria. Drugs may become less effective or not work at all against certain disease-causing bacteria.”
5 Common Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs to Know About
In order to prevent the spread of superbug infections and diseases, it helps to know the common superbugs to watch out for and how to limit your exposure.
- Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE): CRE is a family of bacteria that is typically found in our stomachs, but some of these bacteria can cause life-threatening blood infections and are resistant to all antibiotics.
- Multidrug-Resistant Acinetobacter: Acinetobacter baumannii is the superbug strain of this bacteria and it can be found in soil and water and on the skin. It develops a resistance to antibiotics more quickly than other bacteria and is most common in hospitals.
- Neisseria gonorrhoeae: This strain of bacteria causes the STD gonorrhea, which has previously been easily treated with antibiotics. However, Neisseria gonorrhoeae is becoming more and more resistant to them.
- MRSA: MRSA or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a difficult-to-treat strain of staph infection. Although MRSA is antibiotic-resistant, there are still some antibiotics it responds to and the frequency of life-threatening MRSA has declined.
- Clostridium difficile (C.diff): C. diff is a bacteria found in your intestines that can overgrow and cause severe diarrhea. It can be passed among individuals through spores in bathrooms and on clothing and is not always able to be treated with antibiotics. If not treated, C. diff can be fatal.
Protect Your Family from Superbugs with Aftermath
These superbugs can be spread in many ways, including blood transfusions, contact with bodily fluids, sexual intercourse, and even through skin-to-skin contact. The best way to prevent the spread of superbugs is to limit contact with another person’s blood or bodily fluids, and always wash your hands after coming into close contact with someone.
NIH: News in Health: https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/feb2014/feature1