60 minutes produced a special on superbugs, and it should be on everyone’s radar.
What are superbugs? They are bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. You might laugh, however, superbugs could be well on their way to killing more people than cancer. Throughout the years’ essential antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin and amoxicillin have been vital in treating infections all over the world. If you have had strep throat, most likely you have been given amoxicillin, and if you are a female who has had a urinary tract infection (UTI) ciprofloxacin was most likely prescribed. These common and effective antibiotics are no longer always getting the job done.
Why? Bacteria are getting smarter.
They are mutating and changing to adapt to new environments. It is evolution.
Here is an example of how bacteria work. Let’s use a catheter and hospital scenario.
One little bacteria attach to the catheter. Then another one comes on, right next to the first one. They build a small community. But they get smart. The bacteria know that if the population grows too large, they will not survive. Why? Partly due to oxygen adaptation. As the bacteria communicate with each other, they build a wall when the community has reached maximum capacity. All of this is referred to as quorum sensing.
When the barrier wall is built, the next bacteria start a new community next door. Think of this as leapfrog. The jump over the wall and begin the process all over again. The bacteria continue until they have made there way up the catheter and into the urethra, and bladder. Now the infection has spread.
Bacteria are smart, and posing significant risk and health threats across the globe.
In the 60 minutes segment, we learn antibiotics are posing an impressive risk in not only medicine but rather even in the food we eat.
Antibiotics and the superbug problem is not confined to a specific location; this is a worldwide epidemic.
Correspondent Holly Williams posed the question,
“As an individual? Can I have any impact on this problem?”
Ramanan Laxminarayan, an economist and a senior research scholar at Princeton University suggested,
“You as an individual can have a huge impact by first recognizing that taking antibiotics inappropriately is gonna do you far more harm than good. So even if you didn’t care about resistance for other people, you might consider the fact that the antibiotics won’t work for you when you really need them.”
Watch the CBS 60 minutes episode here- https://www.cbsnews.com/news/could-antibiotic-resistant-superbugs-become-a-bigger-killer-than-cancer-60-minutes-2019-04-21/