Superbugs – Deadly Bacteria Take Hold

Posted on August 17, 2008  Comments (2)

Superbugs by Jerome Groopman, New Yorker:

“My basic premise,” Wetherbee said, “is that you take a capable micro├â┬Ârganism like Klebsiella and you put it through the gruelling test of being exposed to a broad spectrum of antibiotics and it will eventually defeat your efforts, as this one did.” Although Tisch Hospital has not had another outbreak, the bacteria appeared soon after at several hospitals in Brooklyn and one in Queens. When I spoke to infectious-disease experts this spring, I was told that the resistant Klebsiella had also appeared at Mt. Sinai Medical Center, in Manhattan, and in hospitals in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Cleveland, and St. Louis.

Unlike resistant forms of Klebsiella and other gram-negative bacteria, however, MRSA can be treated. “There are about a dozen new antibiotics coming on the market in the next couple of years,” Moellering noted. “But there are no good drugs coming along for these gram-negatives.” Klebsiella and similarly classified bacteria, including Acinetobacter, Enterobacter, and Pseudomonas, have an extra cellular envelope that MRSA lacks, and that hampers the entry of large molecules like antibiotic drugs. “The Klebsiella that caused particular trouble in New York are spreading out,” Moellering told me. “They have very high mortality rates. They are sort of the doomsday-scenario bugs.”

Great article. Related: Bacteria Survive On All Antibiotic DietBacteria Can Transfer Genes to Other BacteriaNew Yorker on CERN’s Large Hadron Colliderposts on health related topics

2 Responses to “Superbugs – Deadly Bacteria Take Hold”

  1. Joan
    January 16th, 2009 @ 3:57 pm

    Let me tell you one thing John (I myself am a medico), as long as there is unmeasured and unmonitored use of antibiotics, resistance to any organism is bound to happen. I believe that those techniques should be developed that put a control on unwanted use of these wonder drugs. In my experience, we can never stop patients from taking antibiotics on their own (self-medication for instead), but what we can stop is using these medications wisely in hospitals and health care institutes. Government should fund this kind of service by providing a recording interface for amount of drug usage in any particular health institute.

  2. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Gram-negative Bacteria Defy Drug Solutions
    March 1st, 2009 @ 11:32 am

    […] Superbugs – Deadly Bacteria Take Hold – CDC Urges Increased Effort to Reduce Drug-Resistant Infections – MRSA Blows Up Defender Cells – […]

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