Drug-resistant bacteria on the rise

By Don Rajael, CCNN Writer

antibiotic
Superbacteria are on the rise, and that’s worrisome.

If you’ve been sick before, the doctor may have prescribed antibiotics to slay the nasty bacteria in your body. However, disease-spreading bugs like viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi are starting to fight back, developing high resistance levels to antibiotics. Even hospitals are seeing outbreaks of these dangerous critters, like UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center, where nearly 180 patients risked exposure to a superbug earlier this year.

The World Health Organization is warning the public and healthcare industry that antibiotic resistance is a very real danger, and is already leaving millions of people defenseless against the ultra-evolved bacteria. The agency has even said that we’re now living in a “post-antibiotic era – in which common infections and minor injuries can kill”.

If you’ve been staying tuned to the news, you may have already heard of these superbugs that laugh in the face of medicine.  After all, last year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began creating superbug alert levels, like “urgent”, “serious”, and “concerning.” Currently, there’s about 2 million people in the USA that are infected with antibiotic-resistant bugs, with about 23,000 deaths due to the drugs being ineffective.

Surprisingly, health professionals are partially to blame, since they so frequently prescribe the disease-killing drugs. This gives the critters more chances to adapt defense mechanisms for the next time, so they can return better equipped for vengeance. Another major source of this dangerous bacteria evolution comes from the antibiotics used in raising bigger pigs and cows for humans to eat.

While researchers and lawmakers come up with solutions, be sure to wash your hands often to avoid germs and only accept antibiotics from your doctor if they absolutely insist.

Images courtesy of CDC.