News Stories

A Superbug Escapes

Superbugs?bacteria that have become resistant to allantibiotics?are usually found in hospitals, where lots ofantibiotics are used and bugs eventually evolve that cannotbe killed by the drugs. This means you can be sicker comingout of the hospital than you were going in. Doctors andhealth authorities have always worried that these superbugswould escape from the hospital into the public realm?and nowit's happening.

Megan Rauscher writes in planetark.com thatantibiotic-resistant germs that cause skin infections andpneumonia in otherwise healthy children and adults are onthe loose. In Corpus Christi, Texas, infections in children"has now reached epidemic proportions," according to Dr.Kevin Purcell.

In 1999, there were 9 cases, but the number jumped to 36 in2000, 105 in 2001, 278 in 2002, and 459 in 2003. Among 1002cases of antibiotic-resistant skin infections seen in CorpusChristi children between 1990-2003, 93% of them occurredoutside the hospital.

Epidemiologist Dr. Jeffrey C. Hageman, of the Centers forDisease Control and Prevention, discovered 17 cases ofpneumonia outside hospitals in 9 different states that wascaused by superbugs during last year's flu season.

"Most of these individuals were otherwise healthy?only fivehad an underlying condition that would put them at risk forthe infection," Hageman says. "This was surprising butparallels what we are seeing with [superbugs] causing skininfections, which also tends to occur in otherwise healthyindividuals."

The average age of the people who catch superbugs althoughthey are not in the hospital is 21, much younger the averageage for catching the disease. Hageman says, "?Pneumonia isgenerally a disease of older populations, greater than age 65."

You can count on Linda Howe to keep you posted on storieslike this, that you won't find in your daily paper. In hertwovideos,she examines a mystery the press hasignoredcompletely.

Photo Credits: http://www.freeimages.co.uk/

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