Superbug fragments in drinking water?

Superbug fragments found in state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant; study done in Duluth


The best-known superbug is MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which even has been found in the locker room of a National Football League team but usually picked up in hospitals. It is sometimes defeated by massive doses of multiple antibiotics, but not always.

A new superbug, Clostridium difficile, which can cause a fatal colon inflammation, now is on the rise. Two antibiotics work for that bug most — but not all — of the time. A quarter of patients relapse and some will die.

While there has been some progress in reducing outbreaks by better practices, such as careful hand washing in hospitals, the situation remains serious. Alcohol-based hand rinsers kill Clostridium difficile, but not its spores.

The increase in superbugs is usually blamed on the extensive use of antibiotics in agriculture, especially chicken and meat, and the over-prescription of antibiotics by physicians. A study released this week from the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy in Washington, D.C. reported an increased overuse of antibiotics in the United States, particularly in the Southeast.

The resistance problem is exacerbated by people who do not follow directions and quit taking their pills too soon.

LaPara did not look for any particular bacteria; he was searching for genes of bacteria that would have superbug attributes. The genes LaPara found came from bacteria formed in the digestive system, excreted and then sent through the sewer systems to municipal wastewater treatment plants.

Comment: Clostridium difficile pretty much defined my year up until October.

1 comment:

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