Superbugs are a global threat. Here's what we can do about them

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A woman from Nevada was hospitalized after returning from a trip to India. She was infected with a “superbug” that resisted 26 types of antibiotics. Sadly, the infection claimed her life.

Superbugs form when bacteria is improperly treated. Bacteria comes back with a vengeance: evolving, growing stronger and building defenses, making it harder to kill. Nearly 500,000 people died globally from antibiotic resistant infections. The entire world is at risk: experts predict that number will skyrocket to 10 million by 2050. We are entering an era were minor infections and even once treatable STD’s will become incurable and possibly deadly.

The research shows a clear message: antibiotics are being overprescribed and misused. The more often bacteria is exposed to a drug, the more it evolves to protect itself. More danger comes in when people don’t finish their antibiotic treatment cycle. The most worst bacteria tends to be hold out as long as it can, and if left untreated, it has the opportunity to grow stronger. STDs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are showing antibiotic resistance at an alarming rate

Another concern is that even if people are taking antibiotics sparingly and as prescribed, they are likely eating meat that has been fed antibiotics for growth. The National Research Council states that “a link can be demonstrated between the use of antibiotics in food animals, the development of resistant microorganisms in those animals, and the zoonotic spread of pathogens to humans.” It might be time to consider going organic or eating less meat all together.  

 

Remember that the risk of reinfection cannot be overlooked. Proper hygiene, clean hospitals and homes, and wearing protection during sex will help lower the risk of bacteria spreading. Raising public awareness of these issues has had massive positive effects on lowering Sweden’s antibiotic resistance rate. Working towards a solution is the only way to save ourselves.

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