This article hits very close to home; We took our younger daughter to the National Institutes of Health in Washington, referred by her specialist, looking for information and seeking help. This superbug highlights an increasing medical problem. Various bugs are becoming resistant to our drug treatments. We, the general population, are partially to blame as we have bought into the current anti germ products. These over the counter treatments usually are so weak as to simply strengthen many of the various germs we all carry. So, the stronger bacteria survive to propagate stronger bacteria.No antibiotic kills 100%of the targeted germs, Those that survive do so since they were strong enough to resist the treatment. Often there is not enough of them left to continue the illness, and our own body defenses finish the job. Increasingly, some of these resistant bugs will find another favorable, for them, environment, and continue to propagate.This process will continue over time, and finally evolve into superbugs. It has been shown that on occasion superbugs will actually feed on the very antibiotic designed to kill them. Drug; companies continue to produce new antibiotics, but present economic realities now decrease the pursuit of new antibiotics. Hopefully, medicine will be able to meet this challenge. Fr. Orthohippo
A deadly, drug-resistant superbug outbreak that began last summer at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center claimed its seventh victim Sept. 7, when a seriously ill boy from Minnesota succumbed to a bloodstream infection, officials said Friday.The boy was the 19th patient at the research hospital to contract an antibiotic-resistant strain of the bacterium Klebsiella pneumoniae that arrived in August 2011 with a New York woman who needed a lung transplant. But his case marked the first new infection of this superbug at NIH since January — a worrisome signal that the bug persists inside the huge brick-and-glass federal facility in Bethesda.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said John Gallin, the physician-researcher who directs the clinical center. “What happened this summer was a very unfortunate case. All of these cases are hugely sad cases.”The boy arrived in Bethesda in April after complications arose from a bone marrow transplant he received last year. His underlying condition — a severe genetic defect that crippled his immune system — increased his risk of acquiring the superbug, as did the steroids and other drugs the boy was given to combat complications from the transplant.“We worried he was set up for a bad infection,” said Gallin.On July 25, routine rectal swabs of patients for hospital-borne infections — a measure put in place during the worst of the outbreak last fall — detected the superbug in the boy.Genetic analysis showed the boy’s strain matched that of the superbug that arrived last year. It eventually spread to 17 additional patients, of whom 11 died. Six of those deaths were directly attributed to the superbug by NIH staff. The NIH did not make the outbreak public until describing it in a scientific publication last month.As the superbug spread last fall, NIH staff members built a wall to isolate infected patients, ripped out plumbing that harbored the bacteria, hired monitors to ensure doctors and nurses were properly scrubbing their hands and even blasted patients’ rooms with vaporized disinfectant.By January, those measures had apparently halted the spread. For six months, no new patients became infected.But in July, the boy tested positive for the superbug. Clinic staffers isolated him in the intensive-care unit and raced to treat the infection.The boy’s superbug originally appeared vulnerable to one antibiotic, but after a week of therapy, the infection grew impervious to that drug, too, Gallin said. The NIH obtained an experimental antibiotic, but it also failed.“This kid probably got this infection because a patient who was a carrier [of the superbug] was on the same unit,” said Gallin. “There was undoubtedly some intrahospital transmission despite our best efforts.”Swabs picked up the superbug on a railing outside the boy’s room, but Gallin said it’s impossible to know whether the boy or someone else deposited it there.Gallin said that earlier this year, two other patients arrived at the clinical center carrying different strains of potentially deadly drug-resistant Klebsiella. Neither of those strains has spread to other patients, Gallin said. One of those two patients was treated at two hospitals in Maryland before transferring to NIH.
About Fr. Orthohippo
The blog of a retired Anglican priest (MSJ), his musings, journey, humor, wonderment, and comments on today's scene.