Recently, “Super bugs’ have been located on the hands of hospital patients. According to an article on Science News, Fourteen percent of 399 hospital patients tested in the study had “superbug” antibiotic-resistant bacteria on their hands or nostrils very early in their hospital stay, the research finds. And nearly a third of tests for such bacteria on objects that patients commonly touch in their rooms, such as the nurse call button, came back positive. This is a huge issue, especially with the antibiotic resistance issues we face nowadays. MRSA is a huge contributor to Hospital infections, this microbe is commonly found in the skin. Due to the high number and turn over of patients in hospitals, many microbes and viruses are exchanged daily.
We have recently been looking into the connections between antibiotic resistance and the use of antibiotics. In cases such as super bugs being found, as we get closer and closer to the post- antibiotic world, these super bugs are going to cause issues that we may potentially not be able to eliminate. With increase in antibiotic resistance, there will be no way to fight these pathogens and bacteria.
I work in a medical clinic, and so I hear about things like this everyday. Many people are unaware that this is happening, and when you try to explain it to them, they don’t believe you. So this article seems pretty accurate to me. It’s scary to know that there are these superbugs out there that we are not able to do anything about.
What can we do about this? Should we have harsher regulations on antibiotic perscriptions?
2 Comments for “Microbes in the News! (3) Super Bugs in Hospitals”
This article is a great reminder on how disease transmission works. Some people can be healthy and be a carrier for a disease, just because we don’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. I would agree with your analysis of the article, people need to be more aware of how dangerous these antibiotic resistant strains are. Even if you’re healthy, they could impact you or someone you care about in a big way. One method of prevention in hospitals might be to educate patients as well as visitors and healthcare professionals about the dangers of these infections and ways to prevent them (hand-washing before eating or interacting with other people including the patient and their family, cleaning off surfaces more frequently, and lessons on antibiotic resistance, etc…). Putting harsher regulations on antibiotic prescriptions could be effective. In an article from the CDC, 30% of antibiotics prescribed by doctors were for unnecessary viral conditions such as the common cold, sore throats, or other ailments. The federal government responded to this statistic in 2015 by stating they expect half of these prescriptions to go away by 2020. As someone who has never taken antibiotics for any of these “unnecessary” reasons, I don’t feel the need to panic when I get a cold. Other people go to the doctor when sick and expect to be given something, but that magic pill should not be antibiotics. Even though 2020 is a short time away, I was unable to find if the government program has been effective in reducing unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions. The CDC branch of the The National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (CARB) is called the Antibiotic Resistance (AR) Solutions Initiative.
CDC article retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0503-unnecessary-prescriptions.html
This article is pretty interesting. I agree with you, that antibiotic resistance is a big problem in hospitals and clinics, especially because a lot of people don’t really understand it. I do think it would be interesting for further research into more hospitals, because the study in this article only looked at two. However, if I had to guess I think similar results would probably be found in a lot of them. In research about my isolate (which was Staphylococcus epidermidis, which has a lot of similarities to Staphylococcus aureus) I looked into MRSA, and how it can survive on surfaces for weeks without a human host. This suggests to me that they are probably surviving on surfaces and transferring to patients. I’m not totally sure what hospitals should do about this problem. Maybe patients should be encouraged to wash their hands regularly? I do think that antibiotics are a large contributors to this problem. I think the only way hospitals can prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance is to limit the amounts of antibiotics they prescribe, though that can be very difficult in a hospital setting.