Apr 21 2019

Super Bugs Resist Treatments

Published by at 12:50 pm under antibacterials,Antibiotics

Fungi resistant to treatment cause new concern in the fight against super bugs.1*
Nearly 600 cases have been discovered in the US and officials worry this number is going to rise. 1*

Antibiotic resistant bacteria remain a growing concern for health care providers worldwide. And now a new bacteria– a fungus– has been making headlines for its mysterious origin as well as its drug resistance. “…This germ, a fungus called Candida auris, preys on people with weakened immune systems, and it is quietly spreading across the globe. Over the last five years, it has hit a neonatal unit in Venezuela, swept through a hospital in Spain, forced a prestigious British medical center to shut down its intensive care unit, and taken root in India, Pakistan and South Africa…”1*

According to the CDC, “…Candida auris is an emerging fungus that presents a serious global health threat. CDC is concerned about C. auris for three main reasons:

  1. It is often multidrug-resistant, meaning that it is resistant to multiple antifungal drugs commonly used to treat Candida infections.
  2. It is difficult to identify with standard laboratory methods, and it can be misidentified in labs without specific technology. Misidentification may lead to inappropriate management.
  3. It has caused outbreaks in healthcare settings. For this reason, it is important to quickly identify C. auris in a hospitalized patient so that healthcare facilities can take special precautions to stop its spread…”2*

For years, the overuse of antibiotics has been reducing the effectiveness of antibiotics that have been saving lives. “…But lately, there has been an explosion of resistant fungi as well, adding a new and frightening dimension to a phenomenon that is undermining a pillar of modern medicine…”

The CDC is working to limit the spread of the drug resistant C. auris. And investigators are working to determine its origin.  CDC investigators have a theory that it started in Asia and spread from there. “…But when the agency compared the entire genome of auris samples from India and Pakistan, Venezuela, South Africa and Japan, it found that its origin was not a single place, and there was not a single auris strain…”1*

In the US, there have been 587 cases of people contracting C. auris, with the majority in New York, Illinois and New Jersey, according to the CDC.  Most cases have been in nursing homes.(1,4)*

“…The earliest known case in the United States involved a woman who arrived at a New York Hospital on May 6, 2013, seeking care for respiratory failure. She was 61 and from the United Arab Emirates, and she died a week later, after testing positive for the fungus. At the time, the hospital hadn’t thought much of it, but three years later, it sent the case to the CDC after reading the agency’s June 2016 advisory…”  1*

There have been outbreaks in hospitals in England, Spain, and other places, but health officials are not disclosing outbreaks because they don’t want to cause panic, and scare patients regarding a situation over which they have little control and of which they are unclear of the risks. The CDC has an agreement with states that they can’t disclose the hospital name or location in outbreaks. Patient advocates are furious, feeling patients should know the risks of entering a health care facility, especially when deciding on a hospital for a non emergency, such as elective surgery. 1*

“…”Why the heck are we reading about an outbreak almost a year and a half later –and not have it front-page news the day after it happens?” said Dr. Kevin Kavanagh, a physician in Kentucky and board chairman of Health Watch USA, a nonprofit patient advocacy group. “You wouldn’t tolerate this at a restaurant with a food poisoning outbreak.”…”1*

Health officials counter that revealing information about a situation they can do nothing about, when the risks are unclear, just frightens the public.1*

World health leaders have pleaded against the overuse of antimicrobials to combat bacteria and fungi, yet they are still rampantly prescribed by health care professionals worldwide. “…Antibiotics and antifungals are both essential to combat infections in people, but antibiotics are also used widely to prevent disease in farm animals and antifungals are also applied to prevent agricultural plants from rotting. Some scientists cite evidence that rampant use of fungicides on crops is contributing to the surge in drug-resistant fungi infecting humans…” 1*

Azoles are a fungicide used to combat fungus in the soil and “…have created an environment so hostile that the fungi are evolving, with resistant strains surviving…” As antibiotics are used in farm animal production, azoles are used on crops, such as potatoes, beans, wheat, tomatoes and onions. ”… C. Auris actually has existed for thousands of years, hidden in the world’s crevices, a not particularly aggressive bug. But as azoles began destroying more prevalent fungi, an opportunity arrived for C. auris to enter the breach, a germ that had the ability to readily resist fungicides not suitable for a world in which fungi less able to resist are under attack…”1*

Superbugs don’t necessarily kill everyone, but are most dangerous to those whose immune systems are compromised, such as newborns, older people, diabetics, smokers and those with autoimmune disorders taking steroids that suppress the body’s defenses. But there is concern among researchers. “…Scientists say that unless more effective new medicines are developed and unnecessary use of antimicrobial drugs is sharply curbed, risk will spread to healthier populations…” A study conducted by the British Government concluded that unless something is done about this mounting problem, the number of people expected to die worldwide from infections resistant to drugs in 2050 could be 10 million people…2 million more than are expected to die from cancer. 1*

Christina Cuomo, a senior group leader of the Fungal Genomics Group at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University sang a less threatening tune ,”…I think that something just for the general public to be aware of is that people are not at risk. This group of [affected] patients already have medical issues, such as people who are hospitalized. The CDC reported very well on this and they’re the primary group within the United States that has been tracking and monitoring it. They’ve been very open on their website about reporting cases around the United States. But it is still pretty rare in the United States. I think it’s just getting a lot of attention right now and I think all of us have to have our eyes on it because we’re concerned about it increasing. So we’re trying to be proactive in responding to it…”3*

Health care institutions are working hard to control the spread of the infection and also that “…the germ is not a health threat to the general public. The people at the greatest risk are those who have compromised immune systems, typically through illness and age, and who are in hospitals and nursing homes where many infections are carried and transmitted…”4*

Given this information, it reinforces the need to keep your own immune system is at its best. Eating organic produce, meats and dairy in order to avoid hidden pesticides and fungicides can only further protect you. Stay healthy so as to avoid hospitals. Keep your gut healthy and your immune system fortified with Body Biotics™ Bio-Identical SBO Probiotics Consortia™. Knowing that scientists and health care professionals around the globe are working very hard to find new solutions also provides comfort. Forewarned is forearmed, so stay the course with your own healthy lifestyle.

Healthiest wishes,

Kelli

www.bodybiotics.com

 

Resources:

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/06/health/drug-resistant-candida-auris.html
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/candida-auris/index.html
  3. https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/qa–what-to-know-about-the-drug-resistant-fungus–candida-auris-65752
  4. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/17/health/candida-auris-fungus-chicago.html

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