- Prior to antibiotics, half of the world’s population died from infections. This is the reality we now face yet again, unless we somehow manage to get antibiotic resistance under control
- Bacteria are incredibly adaptable, capable of sharing genetic material through proximity alone. If they’re close enough, gene packages can rapidly transfer between different bacteria
- Bacteriophages, a type of virus, are a natural predator of bacteria, capable of killing bacteria that antibiotics cannot. Phage therapy is now being explored as a potential alternative to conventional antibiotics
In 2014 a Hill proposal to require hospitals to have an antibiotic stewardship policy originally included a provision to track superbugs, but it was taken out before the bill was passed due to concerns about cost. That’s too bad; if the Legislature had adopted the tracking provision, the state might have been years ahead on reporting superbugs.
The county’s policy change and Hill’s announcement came just days after theLos Angeles Times reported that the incidence of CRE was going underrerported in California. The state does not require hospitals to disclose when this particularly lethal antibiotic-resistant microbe infects patients. Nor does it track when patients with superbug infections die. Determining the cause of death is left to physicians, and they don’t always report when an antibiotic-resistant infection acquired in the hospital contributed to a patient’s demise.
The state does require the reporting of antibiotic resistance in some cases, including hospital-wide infections due to C.difficile, which causes severe intestinal illness, and MRSA, the dreaded but rare methicillin-resistant staph infection. But that’s a small part of the picture, and health officials need all of it to develop an effective superbug-fighting strategy.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that in the United States,superbugs sicken 2 million people and kill about 23,000 a year. Many of those antibiotic-resistant infections are contracted in hospitals. The number is not reliable; it could be, and probably is, higher. It would help if physicians and hospitals were required to report when a patient dies after contracting an antibiotic-resistant microbe. But the CDC can only recommend reporting standards, it can’t mandate them. That’s up to the states.
California lawmakers should act swiftly on Hill’s bill to improve the reporting of antibiotic-resistant microbes. In a very real sense, what we don’t know about superbugs can kill us.
Antibiotic-resistant infections can happen anywhere. Data show that most happen in the general community; however, most deaths related to antibiotic resistance happen in inpatient healthcare settings, such as hospitals and nursing homes
Inpatient Healthcare Providers
- Know what types of drug-resistant infections are present in your facility and patients.
- Request immediate alerts when the lab identifies drug-resistant infections in your patients.
- Alert receiving facility when you transfer a patient with a drug-resistant infection.
- Protect patients from drug-resistant infections.
- Follow relevant guidelines and precautions at every patient encounter.
- Prescribe antibiotics wisely.
- Remove temporary medical devices such as catheters and ventilators as soon as they are no longer needed.
Health Care CEOs, Medical Officers, and Other Healthcare Facility Leaders
- Require and strictly enforce CDC guidance for infection detection, prevention, tracking, and reporting.
- Make sure your lab can accurately identify infections and alert clinical and infection prevention staff when these bacteria are present.
- Know infection and resistance trends in your facility and in the facilities around you.
- When transferring a patient, require staff to notify the other facility about all infections.
- Join or start regional infection prevention efforts.
- Promote wise antibiotic use.
Dr Mercola wrote:
|Using antibiotics only when absolutely necessary
For example, antibiotics are typically unnecessary for most ear infections, and they do NOT work on viruses. They only work on bacterial infections, and even then, they’re best reserved for more serious infections.
Taking an antibiotic unnecessarily will kill off your beneficial gut bacteria for no reason at all, which could actually make it more difficult for you to recover from your illness. If you do take a course of antibiotics, be sure to reseed your gut with healthy bacteria, either by eating fermented foods or taking a high-quality probiotic.
As an all-around preventive measure, make sure your vitamin D level is optimized year-round, especially during pregnancy, along with vitamin K2. A number of other natural compounds can also help boost your immune system function to help rid you of an infection, including vitamin C, oil of oregano, garlic, Echinacea and tea tree oil.
High-quality colloidal silver may be a valuable addition to your medicine cabinet to treat cuts and scrapes in lieu of antibacterial creams. Colloidal silver has been regarded as an effective natural antibiotic for centuries, and research shows it can even be helpful against some antibiotic-resistant pathogens.12,13,14
Manuka honey can also be used for topical applications. Clinical trials have found that Manuka honey can effectively eradicate more than 250 clinical strains of bacteria, including some resistant varieties, such as MRSA.
|Avoiding antibacterial household products
This includes items such as antibacterial soaps, hand sanitizers and wipes, as these too promote antibiotic resistance.
|Properly washing your hands with warm water and plain soap, to prevent the spreading of bacteria
Be particularly mindful of washing your hands and kitchen surfaces after handling raw meats, as about half of all meat sold in grocery stores around the U.S. is likely to be contaminated with potentially dangerous bacteria.
|Purchasing organic, antibiotic-free meats and other foods
Reducing the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a significant reason for making sure you’re only eating grass-fed, organically raised meats and animal products. Besides growing and raising your own, buying your food from responsible, high-quality, and sustainable sources is your best bet, and I strongly encourage you to support the small family farms in your area.