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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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Food for thought
By sthayashi on 11/18/2011 12:13:00 PM , Rating: 2
I was informed by a med student friend that it is illegal for a doctor to prescribe a placebo. Which is ironic given that prescribing antibiotics for viral infections will have the same effect as a placebo. Said friend told me that quite a lot of doctors do just that.

This is one area where perhaps, just maybe, the government should step up and restrict antibiotic drugs a little further.

RE: Food for thought
By Kurz on 11/18/2011 12:54:49 PM , Rating: 4
Yep Antibiotics are probably the only thing I would regulate more heavily than any of our Illegal Drugs. Since antibiotics actually effect other people if used incorrectly.

RE: Food for thought
By bigdawg1988 on 11/18/2011 4:17:10 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe the law has changed since then, but it doesn't appear illegal according to Dr. Gupta...

What if you just prescribed a vitamin or something other than an antibiotic? On the other hand, I see the potential for abuse there by the doctors and pharmacies.

RE: Food for thought
By superstition on 11/18/2011 4:53:37 PM , Rating: 2
Lots of doctors (especially dermatologists) prescribe placebos.

Many do it without information their patients.

"Half of Doctors Routinely Prescribe Placebos" - NYT 2008

For dermatologists, around 74% said they prescribe placebos.

"Half of all German doctors prescribe placebos" - Guardian 2011

I know first-hand about this because my doctors have prescribed placebos instead of making the effort to cure ailments, like my dermatologist who prescribed "as needed" antibiotics.

Others have tried to pass them off as being no big deal. They get paid. As long as I'm sick, they get paid again and again.

I have little faith in American medicine. I've been to too many patient mills and quacks.

RE: Food for thought
By Fritzr on 11/19/2011 10:02:34 AM , Rating: 2
For conditions that will self-cure or have no realistic medication, you WANT a doctor that will prescribe the MAGIC sugar pill. Placebos are proven to work as an active medication when the patient believes they are a treatment.

Prescribing antibiotics when a placebo is needed does nothing extra for the patient, but it does help make common diseases drug resistant.

Your attitude is a major part of the problem. Come the day you NEED an antibiotic you may find that the infection has already been immunized against antibiotics.

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