They are called “Superbugs,” but there is nothing heroic about them, in fact, they could be deadly!
According to a recent report by federal health officials, bacteria that are highly resistant to almost all antibiotics are spreading across US hospitals.
According to Scientific American, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention set up a countrywide lab network in 2016 to help hospitals diagnose infections quickly, in order to stop them from spreading. Since then, The CDC has found 221 cases in 2017 alone, of a rare breed of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
One in four germ samples analyzed by the CDC lab network found special genes that allow them to spread resistance to other bacteria. The CDC also said that 11 percent of people tested, carried these superbugs without displaying any symptoms – a very alarming fact.
These so-called “silent carriers” represent the most dangerous part of this equation, because hospital workers that are not feeling sick themselves can move about the hospital conducting their regular duties while spreading the infection to patients, visitors, and other staff members.
Clearly, this is a big problem. According to the CDC, every year about two million Americans are sickened from antibiotic-resistant infections, resulting in more than 23,000 fatalities annually.
According to the CDC, these bacteria “evolve very quickly, developing mutations that let them evade the effects of antibiotics. If they are not stopped fast, they spread. Worse, the antibiotic-resistant DNA can be carried in little cassettes of genetic material called plasmids that bacteria can slip in their entirety to one another and to other species of bacteria.”
According to NBC News, that exact scenario has already happened several times in the US, and when one superbug gives new powers to a different superbug, the devastating result can be an infection that is impossible to treat.
“Once antibiotic resistance spreads, it is harder to control—like a wildfire,” the CDC said in a statement to NBC.
The World Health Organization has labeled antibiotic resistance a “fundamental threat” to humanity.”