Top 6 superbug infections, including MRSA
Superbugs are disease-causing bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotic drugs. Antibiotics are usually prescribed to stop bacterial infections, such as Staph and MRSA. While these drugs are supposed to kill or slow the growth of bacteria, many have become immune to antibiotics, thus the name "superbug".
The MRSA superbug and dozens of other resistant infections are often deadly, difficult to treat and increase the cost of healthcare. However, these worrisome infections are also quite preventable. Below are the six most common superbugs, where superbugs came from, and what we can do to prevent and reverse the problem.
The 6 most dangerous superbugs
The MRSA superbug is one of the most prevalent and deadly, but there are many other dangerous infections that share the stage with MRSA. In a recent CDC report, 18 of the most dangerous super bugs are identified. Below are the top 6 superbugs with the minimum number of annual U.S. infections per the CDC:
- Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pneumoniae): 1,200,000
- Clostridium difficile (C. diff.): 250,000
- Campylobacter: 310,000
- Neisseria gonorrhoeae (gonorrhea): 246,000
- Salmonella: 100,000
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA): 80,000
Superbugs in the news
Oprah Winfrey, with the help of Dr. Mehmet Oz M.D., recently aired a show solely devoted to help people understand more about the emergence of Superbug infections. As Oprah discussed, superbugs have been seen in the news as "flesh eating bacteria" (also called necrotizing fasciitis), MRSA (short for the bacteria called Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus), C. diff (the bacteria Clostridium difficile) and "Staph" (short for the bacteria Staphylococcus).
Oprah also interviewed NBA all-star Grant Hill, who got MRSA in 2003. Dr. Mehmet Oz also joined Oprah to talk about these infections and how to prevent getting them.
The growing inability of mainstream medicine to successfully treat Staph and MRSA infections is a source frustration, disappointment, fear, and even despair for hundreds of thousands of people suffering from these potentially deadly infections.
- Microbiologist and Staph Researcher Michelle Moore
The MRSA Super Bug
One of the most common superbug infections right now is the MRSA super bug, which stands for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus. MRSA is caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus or "Staph," that has acquired an immunity or resistance to the penicillin type of antibiotics and other currently used antibiotics. You can get MRSA super bug infections in the community (like at your grocery store, gym or daycare center), or at health care facilities like hospitals. Also called a Staph super bug, you can learn more about MRSA by clicking here: What is MRSA.
Staph superbug infections are also common, however Staph is not as resistant to antibiotics as MRSA. A 2007 APIC study (Association for Professionals in Infection and Epidemiology) showed that Staph Superbug infections affect an estimated 1.2 million healthcare patients each year (MRSA infections are part of this number). And, as mentioned above, these infections can also be caught in the community.
The Rise of Antibiotic Resistance
Antibiotic resistance refers to the ability of a bacteria to withstand or overcome the effects of antibiotics so that antibiotics no longer can control a particular bacteria.
Antibiotics have been used only since the 1940’s to stop the growth of bacteria. Unfortunately, the more antibiotics are used, and abused, the quicker bacteria learn to overcome the antibiotic and become resistant to it.
Although the correct antibiotic can be very successful at halting an infection quickly, the more these powerful drugs are used, the less effective they become. Bacteria have an amazing ability to quickly adapt to the drugs we use to kill them. An antibiotic that works well at treating an infection the first time may be totally useless the next time it is used.
Unfortunately, antibiotics have been over-used for some time which has helped create antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics have been over-used (or incorrectly used) by: incorrect diagnosis, unnecessary prescriptions for colds, improper use by patients, and the livestock industry (used to help prevent disease in overcrowded conditions).
Failing treatments and rising healthcare costs
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that we are near the end of effectiveness for the antibiotics we rely on for treating infections. Super bug bacteria are quickly overcoming antibiotics and scientists can not make new drugs quickly enough to keep up.
Thankfully some antibiotics still work. Steps need to be taken soon to curb the use of antibiotics and reserve these important drugs for when they are really needed. Hospitals and healthcare facilities also need better and more consistent infection control programs and antibiotic stewardship programs to reduce the problem of resistance.
Superbug infections are costly as well as deadly. In the U.S. alone superbugs cause $20 billion in extra healthcare costs each year, according the the CDC. C. difficile alone leads to over $1 billion dollars in extra medical costs per year.
The good news is that super bug infections are largely preventable. There are also natural treatment options available that do not cause antimicrobial resistance. These plant and herb extracts are very safe and can be extremely effective against these superbug infections. To learn more about these visit my MRSA natural remedies web page. I have also performed extensive research on MRSA and Staph infection treatments and prevention which can be found in my publication MRSA Secrets Revealed.
Prevention of MRSA and Staph Superbugs
Some superbugs are very contagious. Staph bacteria live on the skin of 30% of all people in the United States. You can even be a carrier of MRSA or Staph bacteria and not even know it. To learn more about how you get these infections, how to help prevent them, and how to protect yourself against them click here for MRSA infection control.