Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The fear of super salmonella

There is another news about medical science, but this one is rather terrible.

A species of antibiotics-resistant salmonella seems to be born. A patient was reported to be infected by this horrible bacterium in Denmark.

Salmonella is a pathogenic bacterium frequently seen in animals. Chicken and eggs are sometimes contaminated with salmonella. If you take it, you will suffer from fever and diarrhea. Salmonella is vulnerable to the heat. So you can eat fried eggs safely. I was cautious to eat raw eggs in London, because British people tend not to eat raw eggs, different from Japanese. Fortunately, I had never encountered such infections there.

As same as many other bacteria, salmonella can be extinguished with some antibiotic drugs. When you are attacked by some bacteria, the immune system in your body will work, firstly. And then, the physician will plan to prescribe some antibiotic drugs to you if the infection is serious. Thanks to the development of antibiotics, there are few people killed by infectious diseases unless the patient has some compromised status, in developed countries.

However, this kind of salmonella newly detected may have resistance to all types of antibiotics. It is quite problematic. It means there is no way to save compromised patients with all means.

But this situation is not an unpredictable result. The human history is described as the battle between antibiotics and bacteria. The more scientists developed a newly antibiotics, the more bacteria evolved themselves to gain the resistance to such drugs. MRSA, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a mutated species of Staphylococcus firstly detected some decades ago. It can survive most of the antibiotics. After the detection of MRSA, physicians working in the hospital were told not to use antibiotics recklessly not to create further strong bacteria. However, it is difficult to avoid using antibiotics completely, especially in the treatment of elder patients. Thus, treatment-resistant bacteria were gradually increasing.

This new salmonella is resistant to colistin, a strong antibiotic drug. Because of its toxicity, colistin is seldom used in the clinical setting. On the other hand, colistin has been used in livestock to protect them from infection. Then, the continuous use of colistin can be a cause of the birth of superbug.

At present, colistin-resistant salmonella is not observed in many regions. However, if it causes an outbreak, many patients would be victimized. We should be cautious, not only in the clinical use of antibiotics but also in their use in animals.

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