Increased use of antibiotics leads to dangerous resistances

No antidote: Dangerous super-germs are spreading

Variants of the highly dangerous germ Staphylococcus epidermidis are already resistant to all types of antibiotics.

Australian scientists have warned against a very hazardous pathogen that is resistant towards all known antibiotics. According to a published study in the journal „Nature Microbiology“, this super germ can lead to severe infections and even death.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne found 3 variants of these multi-resistant germs in samples from 10 countries – even in Europe. The study was originally confined to Australia, says Ben Howden, head of the microbiological diagnostic department at the university. Later on, it became clear that this pathogen could be found in different countries across the globe: „It appears to have spread out“.

Severe infection

The bacterium known as Staphylococcus epidermidis is related to the well-known and dangerous MRSA-germ. It is usually found on human skin and mainly infects older people or patients with implanted prosthetic material.

„Es kann tödlich sein“, sagte Howden. Der Keim ist schwer auszurotten „und die Infektionen können schwerwiegend sein“. Sein Forscherteam untersuchte hunderte Proben aus 78 Krankenhäusern auf der ganzen Welt. Sie fanden heraus, dass einige Stämme des Krankheitserregers bereits deutliche Veränderungen in ihrer DNA vorgenommen hatten.

„It can be deadly“, says Howden. The germ is difficult to eradicate and the infections can be severe. His team of researchers analysed hundreds of samples from 78 hospitals around the world. They found that some strains of the pathogen already showed drastic changes to their DNA.

Antibiotic resistance

These DNA alterations made the germs resistant towards 2 of the most commonly-used antibiotics which are given in combination against various nosocomial infections. The practice of using several antibiotics at once to prevent resistance apparently doesn’t work, conclude the scientists.

According to their assessment, the super germ can spread due to the increased use of antibiotics in Intensive Care Units (ICU). The World Health Organisation WHO has been warning against the excessive use of antibiotics for a long time, which leads to dangerous strains of resistant bacteria sooner or later.

The study emphasises this correlation, explains the lead investigator Bowden. There is n doubt „that antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest danger to hospital care worldwide“.


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