MRSA – The New Super-Bug
What Is MRSA :
When we pop-in an antibiotic, do we know that we may be inadvertently inviting a trouble? Most of us are oblivious to the fact that antibiotics do not only kill the microorganisms, but also provide stimulus for them to grow stronger! Over years, indiscriminate antibiotic use has triggered growth of various resistant strains that may no longer be killed by that antibiotic.
With antibiotic overuse, we are quickly heading towards a day when we shall witness the development of a superbug that will not be managed with any of the known antibiotics. With arrival of MRSA, we might be almost there!
Antibiotics and Their Role :
Antibiotics are primary medicines used in various infectious diseases. Since advent of Penicillin, these drugs have served as life-saving blessings for many who would otherwise not have survived the infection from potentially lethal bacteria. Antibiotics may act by stopping microbial growth or killing them. However, whenever we take antibiotics, there is a collateral risk that some of the microbes may develop changes in their genetic system, rendering themselves immune to the action of antibiotics. The greater amount and variety of antibiotics we take, greater the risk of development of these microbes.
Origin Of MRSA :
In modern day practice, antimicrobials are often prescribed for managing infections. Sometimes, need of fast recovery and preventing supra-infection may lead to prescription of un-needed antibiotics or stronger and broader spectrum antibiotics. Widespread use of these drugs has led to development of various resistant strains. One of the most dangerous and presently increasing resistant strain is a bacterium termed Methicillin Resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
MRSA is caused by a strain that developed resistance to the now redundant Methicillin in 1960s. However, it is not only resistant to all the Penicillins, but also other antibiotics such as Cephalosporins and Carbapanms. Infections by MRSA are often hospital acquired, but, there has been a recent surge in community acquired MRSA infections too. Once MRSA infections occur, there is twice as much chance of mortality as compared to the on resistant strains. Treatment is difficult and associated with prolonged hospitalization and increased cost.
MRSA infections are being increasingly looked as matter of concern in view of rising number of community-acquired infections. These might translate into future epidemics that may become difficult to control. Recent outbreaks of Ebola and Zika Virus epidemics have demonstrated the widespread morbidity and mortality that such epidemics may incur. Keeping such eventuality in view, the WHO has recommended antibiotic use limited to situations where it is really required. Thus, next time you take an antibiotic prescription or ask a doctor for quicker relief, make sure that you are acting responsibly in view of greater good of humankind.
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