Patient discussion about antibiotic resistance
!!! The questions and answers on this page are written by patients and are not reviewed by health professionals.
Q. Are superbugs contagious through the air?
Last week we visited my dad in the hospital, and we noticed that on the next room’s door there was a warning sign. After asking, we were told it was a denoting that the patient inside had a superbug (called klebsiella). On our way out we passed against this patient in the hallway – is it possible that I also carry this superbag? Is it dangerous?
|A1||Usually these bacteria are transmitted from person to person through direct contact, and less through the air. Moreover, these germs are dangerous in ill and debilitated patients, and not in normal healthy individuals.|
|A2||No, you did not catch it. Klebsiella pneumoniae is a gram-negative rod-shaped bacteria. It can cause pneumonia although it more commonly implicated in hospital-acquired urinary tract and wound infections, particularly in people with weakened immune systems. It is an increasing problem on hospitals because of the evolution of antibiotic resistant strains. Since you are healthy and not hospitalized you cannot catch it. Only other patients can catch it.|
Q. Why Is it Important to Not Use Antibiotics Often?
Why is my doctor always so reluctant to prescribe me antibiotics?
|A1||Antibiotic resistance has become a serious problem in both developed and underdeveloped nations. By 1984 half of those with active tuberculosis in the United States had a strain that resisted at least one antibiotic. In certain settings, such as hospitals and some childcare locations, the rate of antibiotic resistance is so high that the usual, low-cost antibiotics are virtually useless for treatment of frequently seen infections. This leads to more frequent use of newer and more expensive compounds, which in turn leads to the rise of resistance to those drugs. A struggle to develop new antibiotics ensues to prevent losing future battles against infection. Therefore the doctors try to avoid using antibiotics when it is not necessary, and try to keep a certain limited use of these medications.|
|A2||Use or misuse of antibiotics may result in the development of antibiotic resistance by the infecting organisms. Evolutionary theory of genetic selection requires that as close as possible to 100% of the infecting organisms be killed off to avoid selection of resistance; if a small subset of the population survives the treatment (and therefore is allowed to multiply), the average susceptibility of this new population to the treatment will be much less than that of the original population, since they have descended from those few organisms that survived the original treatment. Doctors nowadays try to prevent misuse of antibiotics in order to avoid creating growing bacterial resistance to them.|
|A3||Usually antibiotics kill bacteria or stop them from growing. However, some bacteria have become resistant to specific antibiotics. This means that the antibiotics no longer work against them. Bacteria become resistant more quickly when antibiotics are used too often or are not used correctly (such as not taking a full course of antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor). Resistant bacteria sometimes can be treated with different antibiotics to which the bacteria have not yet become resistant. These medicines may have to be given intravenously (through a vein) in a hospital. A few kinds of resistant bacteria are untreatable. If you take antibiotics when your body doesnt need them, then when you do need antibiotics, they won't work. http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/infections/protect/680.html Hope this helps.|
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