"Superbugs" with Up to 50 Percent Drug Resistance Invade Europe
November 18, 2011 8:54 AM
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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
, 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.
International Business Times
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RE: Silly Doctors
11/20/2011 5:12:41 PM
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.
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