Well, this is certainly a fine kettle of fish we’ve gotten ourselves into.
I’ve written before about superbugs and the problem of antibiotic resistance… caused by antibiotic overuse and misuse. But now a new strain of E. coli—known by the bland and unassuming name ST131—is adding a new chapter to the frightening superbug story.
Experts warn that a new mutant bacterium is striving for a spot on the Superbug Wall of Shame, and leaving a lot of really sick people in its wake.
Our best weapons against E- coli are now ineffective
In the past, virulent strains of E. coli were generally treatable with antibiotics and the antibiotic-resistant strains that did exist tended to be weaker, infecting mostly already-at-risk people like the elderly or chronically ill. But now this new strain has totally changed the game.
ST131 is both highly virulent and highly antimicrobial-resistant. In other words, this is one really potent bacterium, and our best weapons against illness causing bacteria are totally ineffective.
It’s already been shown to be resistant to two of the most commonly used antibiotics, the broad-spectrum fluoroquinolone and the extended-spectrum cephalosporin.
A study, published in a recent issue of the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases reveals that ST131 has already become a major cause of serious antimicrobial-resistant infections both in the United States and abroad. And experts warn that the potential for an epidemic is very real. In fact, according to Dr. James Johnson, the study author, if this strain gains just one more resistance gene, it will become “almost untreatable” and will be a true superbug.
The antibiotic-resistance issue isn’t losing steam
It’s clear that the antibiotic-resistance issue isn’t losing steam. We’ve likely seen only the tip of the iceberg, and it’s going to require a major sea change and a huge overhaul of current farming practices to correct the course we’re on.
But you can do your part to help change the direction in which we’re headed, as well as protect your family, by choosing to buy only organic meats. To be certified as organic by the USDA meat must be antibiotic—and growth-hormone-free. Also, organic farmers cannot use feed made from animal parts.
The higher the demand becomes for organic meat, the more farmers we will see making the switch. Prices will come down, and hopefully antibiotic resistance will soon follow suit.
Shore up your immune system by supplementing with a good probiotic, vitamin C, and colloidal silver. Be super-vigilant about handwashing.. .especially when you or a loved on is in the hospital. And, of course, don’t forget that antibiotics are useless for treating viruses like colds or the flu.
Remember, the best offense is a good defense when resisting a superbug.