How Are Superbugs Created?
Superbugs are bacteria that have grown resistant to antibiotics and other treatments. Another name for superbugs is hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). Doctors attempting to treat superbugs might be helpless to stop them from spreading in patients.
What are superbugs and how are they created? Superbugs include bacterium such as CRE (carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae), MRSA (Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) and C. diff (Clostridium difficile). The bacteria were once treated with antibiotics, but over time evolved to become resistant. Now scientists and medical professionals are baffled on how to stop superbugs from spreading.
Since its discovery in 1961, MRSA has killed millions worldwide. According to a report by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, MRSA kills 119,000 U.S. hospital patients every year.
CRE is another superbug that is resistant to various antibiotics. Normally found within the intestines, the bacteria can spread throughout the body and cause severe illness. Several commonly used medical devices can spread the bacteria. However, this superbug is more likely to target patients who already have weakened immune systems or have stayed long-term in health care environments.
Last year, a report from the British government found that superbugs could kill 10 million worldwide every year and cost $100 trillion by 2050.
Can Hospitals Stop Superbugs?
Superbugs and HAIs recently caught the attention of Congress, which instituted the Hospital Acquired Condition Reduction Program. The program is overseen by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services and the Centers for Disease Control. Hospitals with poor sanitation practices and higher levels of infections can lose funding.
In some cases, patients and surviving family members have filed medical negligence lawsuits against hospitals for deaths and injuries involving superbugs.
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