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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

9/18/2013 (10 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Deadly antibotic-resistant germs are evolving fast.

Experts from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are warning that three kinds of bacteria, some life threatening, and becoming resistant to all antibiotic treatment and are causing an increasing number of deaths across the country.

Bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics in both the lab and our bodies.

Bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics in both the lab and our bodies.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/18/2013 (10 months ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: CDC, germs, antibiotics, resistance, report, disease, natural selection, evolution


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A new federal report from the CDC is warning that three kinds of bacterial infection are now acquiring antibiotic resistance and could become major killers if unchecked.

The three bacteria are:

- Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), a bacteria that is responsible for approximately 9,000 infections in hospitals each year. About half of these infections now result in death after the bacteria makes it into the victim's bloodstream.

- Drug-resistant gonorrhea, which is a sexually transmitted disease. The disease is becoming resistant to several different antibiotics used to attack it. According to the CDC, about 30 percent of the 800,000 annually reported cases now involve the resistant strain.

- Clostridium difficile (C. diff), causes deadly diarrhea which can dehydrate a patient, causing death. The bacteria is already responsible for 14,000 deaths annually. Although antibiotics still work against it, doctors say that it flourishes in places where antibiotics are overprescribed.

The report also warned about other bacteria that either are just beginning to acquire antibiotic resistance or are in danger of acquiring it. Also mentioned is the overuse of antibiotics in livestock. Those chemicals make their way into the human food supply and eventually into water supplies.

The heart of the problem is evolution by means of natural selection. Bacteria can produce several successive generations in a day and grow at an exponential rate. Genetic replication isn't perfect, so with each generation, there is minor variation in a species. Some variations can make a bacteria more resistant to a particular antibiotic. Continual exposure to an antibiotic will favor the reproduction of resistant bacteria.

This is why cocktails of antibiotics tend to be favored in some cases. Resistant strains may become resistant to one antibiotic, but not others all at once. An attack with multiple antibiotics is generally much more effective.

However, the continual exposure of bacteria to any antibiotic will eventually produce resistance, therefore the constant need for new antibiotics.

The CDC is advising less use of antibiotics. They should only be given in cases where they are actually needed in both humans and animals. Antibiotics should rarely, if ever, be used as a precaution.

Currently, doctors follow their own judgment when prescribing antibiotics and often err on the side of caution, prescribing them when they see risk of infection rather than an actual infection.

Patients are also urged to ask questions about the necessity of any antibiotics they may be prescribed and to consider refusing any antibiotics if their condition does not warrant the medication.

Livestock owners are also encouraged to reconsider their broad use of antibiotics in animals.


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