As of August, 2010, a new "superbug," which is already widespread in India, has also been detected in Pakistan, the UK, the United States, Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Canada. This new antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection has health officials worried about how those infected with it should be treated.
Multi-drug-resistant bacteria are often treated with powerful antibiotics, including carbapenems, a class of antibiotics that is essentially ineffective against this new superbug. A recent study in the science journal The Lancet found that the new superbug can still be treated with two other potent antibiotics named tigecycline and colistin. These are usually reserved for very serious infections when other treatment options have failed.
This limited antibiotic arsenal gives doctors few options when treating patients, and there is serious concern that multi-drug-resistant bacteria are developing at a faster rate than new antibiotics to help deal with the problem.
Each health care facility has infection-control measures in place to stop the spread of resistant bacteria. This includes protocols such as proper hand-washing and isolating infected patients. You should also inform your doctor if you have had medical care in India or Pakistan.
In general, there are many simple precautions you can take to defend yourself against potentially harmful bacteria:
For more information about superbugs, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
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