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Klebsiella pneumoniae  (Source:
One bacterium, called Klebsiella pneumoniae, has been particularly harmful with 15 to 50 percent of cases due to bloodstream infections resistant to carbapenem antibiotics

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has found that multi-drug resistant bacteria, or "superbugs," are spreading throughout Europe with resistance to even the strongest antibiotics.

One bacterium, called Klebsiella pneumoniae, has been particularly harmful. K. pneumoniae typically causes pneumonia, bloodstream and urinary tract infections.

K. pneumoniae has become resistant to antibiotics in Europe, leading to infection in many countries. In fact, K. pneumoniae is even resistant to the most powerful antibiotics called carbapenems.

According to the ECDC, 15 to 50 percent of K. pneumoniae due to bloodstream infections were resistant to carbapenems.

According to Marc Sprenger, ECDC's director, rates of resistance to "last-line" antibiotics such as carbapenems by K. pneumoniae had doubled to 15 percent in 2010 from 7 percent five years ago.

There are two main issues with fighting the superbug: the lack of commercial incentive to invest in last-line antibiotics, and the misuse of antibiotics.

There are very few new antibiotics in development. According to experts, only large drug firms like AstraZeneca are partaking in antibiotic research, and there's a lack of effort in creating new antibiotics that will only be used as a last line of defense.

Antibiotic misuse is a large problem with fighting bacteria. When antibiotics are overused, bacteria find other avenues of surpassing the antibiotics and invading the body. According to Sprenger, countries with the highest rates of multi-drug resistant infections also tend to be the ones with the highest antibiotic use. These countries include Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria and Hungary.

But K. pneumonia isn't the only superbug to worry about. A different risk report focuses on a gene called New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM-1), which can be found in K. pneumonia or E. coli. It makes bacteria resistant to nearly all drugs, and the ECDC reported 106 cases in 13 European countries by the end of March 2011. In late 2010, there were only 77 cases in the same 13 countries. In August 2010, there were patients in South Asia and Britain discovered with the NDM-1 gene.

Experts say doctors are largely to blame for the overuse of antibiotics leading to abuse and eventually resistance. They say patients demand them without needing them and hospitals readily give them out.

Source: International Business Times

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Silly Doctors
By ViroMan on 11/18/2011 11:10:24 AM , Rating: 4
... why you cure infections when the people can cure it themselves given time?

Ya this problem is probably due to people thinking they need antibacterial meds when they get the Common Cold. News flash! The Common Cold is a virus... antibacterial meds do nothing to it!

RE: Silly Doctors
By Dr of crap on 11/18/2011 12:42:45 PM , Rating: 1
I have yet to understand that statement -
"Patients demand it and doctors give out prescriptions."
Since when are the patients in charge?
If they don't need the drug don't give it out.
My family has yet to see a doctor that just gave out anti-biotics just because. When we DO get them it because we need them not to pacify us. Maybe if we DEMANDED them, we get them more??!!
Maybe a class action law suits against all doctors would fix that.

RE: Silly Doctors
By 3DoubleD on 11/18/2011 1:27:22 PM , Rating: 2
Demanding antibiotics from a doctor in North America is one thing, they'll likely just say no. But "demanding" treatments from doctors in other countries is different. Many places you only get treatment with bribes... and thus you can get any treatment you want with the right bribes. This is especially applicable to the worst offenders: Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Hungary, ect.

Good luck with your legal action against doctors in those countries.

RE: Silly Doctors
By cfaalm on 11/18/2011 2:23:58 PM , Rating: 2
In the whole of North Africa: Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia etc (I don't know about the rest) it's also common practice to get antibiotics for stuff that wouldn't require them necessarily.

RE: Silly Doctors
By Solandri on 11/18/2011 3:37:28 PM , Rating: 5
It's like arguing on the Internet. You end up wasting a half hour explaining, trying to convince the patient that all he needs is some rest and fluids to let his body fight it.

Why do that when you can just prescribe him some "harmless" antibiotics in 30 seconds, and get him out of your hair so you can go see your next patient. For most people, a visit to the doctor is not "worth it" unless the doctor gives them some medicine to take home. So when the doctor tells them to just get some rest, they tend to fight it.

RE: Silly Doctors
By bjacobson on 11/18/2011 4:08:30 PM , Rating: 3
Hm, they should come up with a system of prescribing "antibiotics" [placebos] for such scenarios...

RE: Silly Doctors
By ViroMan on 11/18/2011 9:04:30 PM , Rating: 1
Why give them placebos when, you can give them vitamin c's? Tell them its going to get rid of their problem in a few days because really, it will.(but don't tell them its vitamin c)

RE: Silly Doctors
By mindless1 on 11/20/2011 5:12:41 PM , Rating: 1
That is naive and foolish. Antibiotics are one of the greatest inventions man has ever had. They saved millions, now billions of lives.

It is certainly true that they are overprescribed, but on the other hand the only way you would know if they were necessary with a patient is to withhold them and watch the patient get sicker.

Not sure where you draw your line about it but most people don't just hop over to the doctor's office for antibiotics unless their immune system was already losing the fight. It takes time for the body to create antibodies and how many days can a person just bed rest, setting aside their school, work, family responsiblities and potentially making others sick in the process?

I advocate bed rest and vitamin C... every day. Also taking a day off to save stength and recover is wise too, but there comes a point where everyone being sick so we don't use antibiotics has to be weighed against giving superbugs a larger foothold.

... and if people can just rest and get over it, they can do that against the superbugs too so I don't see the logic in it. Being immune to antibiotics doesn't make them any less of a foreign antibody in a host. Once we have germs that aren't recognized as an antibody, THEN worry because then the end for the species is near.

RE: Silly Doctors
By bigdawg1988 on 11/18/2011 4:11:53 PM , Rating: 2
Shoot, why don't they just give them sugar pills? Or are the doctors in with the pharmacies or something?

RE: Silly Doctors
By TSS on 11/19/2011 11:18:38 AM , Rating: 2
That doesn't adress the reason why people ask for medicine. And i can understand the no.1 reason for abuse of antibiotics: Kids.

What's more scary to a parent then losing their child? That can break down the best of them. My dad is a very wise and calm individual, but when i was 3 months old and i had a fever of 41,3C (42C is enough to kill an adult) even he didn't mind antibiotics at all. In that situation, of course medicine is approriate. But what it leaves behind is "oh my god my 3 month old baby nearly died, i'm NOT going to let it get this far next time".

Of course doctors share in the blame, for still giving out antibiotics. But parents can be very persuasive when they think the doctor is gambling with their childs life, no matter how small the odds might be. Since i'm an adult i've gotten sick much less often since my immune system is fully developped, and i go to the doctors office less often because i belive something really needs to be wrong before i need to go to the doctor. Even so, more often then not i've heard "wrong posture while sitting", "it'll go away", "nothing really to do about that" etc. And i'm willing to accept it since he's the doctor and probably knows what's best (don't worry if i'm really in pain i force him to check again too).

Thing is, would even i have that attitude with my own child? Absolutely not. My kid isn't going to die i'm damn well going to make sure of that. Me? i won't die, i can take a hit. I think that's the main culprit of overuse of antibiotics. Nor do i think that's something we can change since it's so deeply rooted in our being.

So all in all.... the best thing to do is just to keep developping antibiotics, for widespread *and* limited use. We are going to need to anyway, no matter how much you limit the use *eventually* bacteria will become resistant.

RE: Silly Doctors
By karkas on 11/19/2011 7:06:31 PM , Rating: 2
I cant speak for other countries, but in America it is considered unethical/illegal to give placebo unless the patient is participating in a drug trial.

Pharmacies don't stock sugar pills and a pharmacist isn't going to lie to the patient about what s/he is dispensing.

RE: Silly Doctors
By Reclaimer77 on 11/18/11, Rating: -1
RE: Silly Doctors
By retrospooty on 11/21/2011 7:41:40 AM , Rating: 1
You do realize that none of that has even started yet right? We are still dealing with a 100% private system.

Not that I agree with govt. run healthcare, I am just saying you cant blame this on something that doesnt even exist yet.

RE: Silly Doctors
By theArchMichael on 11/21/2011 12:03:47 PM , Rating: 1
Actually there are countries where they have much less regulated healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. A friend of mine from Mexico City buys antibiotics off the shelf at the grocery store WITH NO SUBSCRIPTION or without even signing anything. She did this for a cold/flu, and I did tell her it wasn't going to help if it was a viral infection. But of course, people who are scared or have lives to get back to just want to eliminate the possibility and tend to act selfishly.

She is super hot though... so I let it slide.

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