Each year, nearly two million people are infected with an antibiotic resistant “superbug” of one type or another. Of the two million people, at least 23,000 people die each year. At the rate of which the antibiotic resistant superbugs are growing, the CDC is worried that we could be facing “potentially catastrophic consequences.” For the first time, researchers have found close to two dozen antibiotic-resistant bacteria alarming enough to list in one of three categories. The super bugs are ranked as urgent, serious, and concerning. According to Tufts University, “Some bad bacteria are naturally resistant to certain types of antibiotics.” However, the over use of medications has caused more than 2 million people to become infected every year with super bugs, illnesses that are antibiotic resistant.
The CDC ranks the worst drug-resistant bacteria according to how many people get sick, the number of hospitalizations caused by the bacteria, and how many deaths are caused from the bacteria. They also take into account how many, if any, existing antibiotics still work on the bacteria. Our body hosts close to 100 trillion good bacteria at a time.
Ranked as urgent, there are 3 bacteria: Clostridium difficile (C Dif), Carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE), and drug-ressistant Neisseria gonnorrhoeae (Gonnorhea). Clostridium difficile, (C Dif), infects 250,000 each year and approximately 14,000 of those people die due to the infection. It wipes out protective bacteria that normally live in your stomach. CRE has become resistant to almost all antibiotics and is known as the “nightmare bacteria.” It has gain this nickname because it causes life threatening diarrhea and has had confirmed cases in almost all 50 states. Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease, is the 2nd most commonly reported infection, and is now showing resistance to almost all antibiotics. It can harm reproductive systems permanently and it effects nearly 800,000 people annually. Candida is a fungus that has started becoming a problem with being able to be treated with antibiotics as well.
Most alarming is how many infections made it on the “serious” list. There are 12 bacteria that are at the top of the list for being a serious health concern. Some of the bacterias that we see on a daily basis are different types of salmonella, pnuemonia, tuberculosis, MRSA, and VRSA. All of which infect hundreds of thousands every day. It should be very scarey that what used to be our basic bacterias are now super bugs.
The “concerning” list should wake us all up. Remember getting streptococcus? Remember how rare getting staff infection used to be, and how easy it was to treat it? Many strains of staff and strep are now becoming super bugs. Our everyday illnesses now need antibiotics and the ones that needed antibiotics need stronger antibiotics, or they don’t even work at all.
Missouri’s Department of Health states, “Repeated and improper uses of antibiotics are primary causes of the increase in drug resistance.” Health officials are also concerned about the other way we are getting the antibiotics that are harming us in the long run,which is through the meat we eat that is treated with hormones and antibiotics. In todays society we are cautioned by 3 colors for terrorism threat to judge our safety. More people need to be concerned with the growing numbers of antibiotic resistant super bugs and the health concerns rated as “urgent,” “serious,” and “concerning.”
Written by: Crystal Ervin
Center for Disease Control
Missouri’s Department of Health