Sunday, January 30, 2011

MRSA: What happens when antibiotics are overused ?

What happens when antibiotics are overused ?
This flash video written deliberately in an elementary format is rather clever, as it explains the overuse of antibiotics in relation to super bugs like MRSA .

(Click The Arrow To Navigate the Slide show)

January 31, 2011
UK health agency warns over antibiotic resistance
LONDON (Reuters) - British health authorities issued new guidelines on Saturday to try to halt the spread of "superbug" infections that are resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics, known as carbapenems.
Carbapenems are heavy-hitting antibiotics often reserved as the last line treatment for illnesses like hospital-acquired pneumonias, urine infections or blood poisoning caused by strains of Klebsiella and Escherichia coli bacteria that are resistant to other antibiotics.
Several strains of these bugs are now also becoming resistant to carbapenems, something experts say puts modern medicine under threat.

"It is critical ... to understand how much of modern medicine - from gut surgery to transplants - depends on the ability to treat infection," said David Livermore, director of antibiotic resistance monitoring at the Health Protection Agency (HPA).
"If that ability is lost through resistance, then medicine will take a great step backwards."
HPA guidelines for all consultant medical microbiologists and infection control specialists across Britain will advise how hospitals should try to detect carbapenem-resistant bacteria, and stress how practices such as screening and isolating high risk patients can help contain infection spread.
The advice was drawn up after inquiries from specialist doctors about use of antibiotics after a superbug involving New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase, or NDM-1, was found last year to have spread to Britain from Asia.

"The emergence of carbapenem resistance is a major public health concern and we hope this new guidance will help infection control specialists ... recognize, treat and prevent infections caused by bacteria with these resistances," Livermore said.
First described in 2008, NDM-1 is an enzyme that destroys carbapenems, also known as a carbapenemase. It has been found in a variety of bacterial types, including the Enterobacteriaceae family, Klebsiella and E. coli, all of which are common and can cause a range of infections.

Scientists from the Stockholm-based European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said last November that around 77 cases of infections involving NDM-1 had been detected in 13 European countries.

A U.S. expert published a paper last month saying that cases of Enterobacteriaceae-containing NDM-1 had been found in the United States, Israel, Turkey, China, India, Australia, France, Japan, Kenya, Singapore, Taiwan and the Nordic countries.
Aside from NDM-1, other carpabenemases have also been detected in Britain and worldwide, the HPA said, including one known as Verona Imipenemase (VIM), another called Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC) and another called OXA-48.
Experts have been warning for years that poor hospital practices and the overuse of antibiotics will boost the spread dangerous bacteria, but practices are changing only slowly.
The World Health Organization (WHO) now says there is an urgent need for new antibiotics to be developed, but drug firms are often reluctant to invest heavily into developing such drugs, given that they are often reserved for only the sickest patients and are therefore likely to generate only modest sales.

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Why You Shouldn't Beg Your Doctor for an Antibiotic

Antibiotic overuse creates superbugs that are resistant to treatment.

Feeling sick?
Your doctor may weigh the evidence and say you don't need an antibiotic. If you insist, chances are, she'll sigh, pull out her script pad, and give you one just to get your annoying self out of her office. Physicians are busy people who don't necessarily feel like giving you a lesson in Antibiotics 101 during your three-minute visit."Patients will, in many cases, insist that they be given an antibiotic," says Frank Myers, the director of clinical epidemiology at Scripps Mercy Hospital, in San Diego. Some even threaten to see another doctor if they don’t get the drugs.However, there are a lot of really good reasons why you should meekly leave the doctor's office empty handed, save for the standard advice to get enough fluids and bed rest.For one, antibiotics also kill off good bacteria in your body, which help to digest your food or maintain a healthy balance in your throat or genital tract. "You're not just killing bad bugs; you're killing good bugs," says Tom Campbell, MD, a family physician in Rochester, N.Y. When good bacteria die, it can cause diarrhea as well as yeast infections of the throat and vagina.
In recent years, there have been outbreaks of a potentially life-threatening intestinal bacterium called C. difficile, which can gain a foothold in people who are treated with antibiotics.In addition, antibiotic overuse creates superbugs that are resistant to treatment. Take methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which was recently responsible for some highly publicized deaths in teens and children. The staph strain is resistant to antibiotics such as methicillin, oxacillin, penicillin, and amoxicillin. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that between 1999 and 2005, the number of MRSA-related hospitalizations increased 62%, from 294,570 to 477,927.Another dangerous bacteria is penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae, or strep pneumo, a common problem with childhood ear infections. "This is much more difficult to treat because of antibiotic resistance, and it causes a lot of illness," Myers says. "It's a big problem with kids' ear infections and can also result in meningitis in both children and adults."The overuse of antibiotics has become so problematic that state health agencies around the world have created public-education campaigns—including advertisements on television, buses, and billboards—to warn both doctors and patients (and especially parents) about the dangers of antibiotic resistance.

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