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How Can We Stop the Spread of Drug-Resistant Superbugs?

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It seems like nowadays, you can go to the doctor's office and get antibiotics for just about anything. For years, doctors have been criticized for overprescribing antibiotics to patients. But what's the problem with this? Aren't antibiotics supposed to help patients heal and overcome bacterial infections? Unfortunately, this sometimes isn't the case. If antibiotics are taken too often, bacteria can develop immunity to the drugs and mutate so they are untreatable by medication. Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 3.38.10 PMRecently, a woman in Pennsylvania was found to have a rare kind of E. coli infection that's untreatable by any type of antibiotic, even the hugely successful drug Colistin didn't work. The woman hasn't traveled outside of the U.S. within the past five months, so it's unclear from where exactly the bacteria came. Though the woman was treated and sent home, there is still great concern for the spread of superbugs like this one. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are on the rise in the U.S. and other countries. Cases with this same rare E. coli bacteria have been found in Europe, Canada and China. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden, we should expect to see more superbugs like this in the near future. Every year, at least 2 million people become infected with antibiotic-restistant bacteria. At least 23,000 people die each year as a result of those infections. According to the CDC, the only way to prevent antibiotic resistance is to use drugs only to treat infections. The use of antibiotics is the main factor leading to antibiotic resistance, so doctors should be more considerate when treating patients. Up to half of antibiotic use is unnecessary. If we're not careful, we may soon live in a world with a ton of untreatable diseases.
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