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Antibiotic Resistance in Healthy Adults

Misuse of Antibiotics Leads to Increased Amounts of Resistant 'Super' Bugs
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Understanding Staph

Actually, many people have staph bacteria "colonized" -- living naturally -- in their bodies yet don't feel any ill effects from it, according to the CDC. But if these people get cut or get a cold, -- anything that shakes up their immunity -- a staph infection can set in.

Others who do not carry staph bacteria can also get infected if exposed to it. These infections may be caused by antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria.

Many of these antibiotic-resistant staph infections can cause deep skin infections and create an abscess that needs to be surgically drained. When staph bacteria are determined to be resistant to the antibiotic methicillin, doctors have to decide which other antibiotic to prescribe -- some are given intravenously, while others are very expensive.

The antibiotic vancomycin is very good in treating methicillin-resistant staph infections. "But we're very worried that if we use it a lot, we'll start seeing resistance to it," says researcher Gloria P. Heresi, MD, professor of pediatric infectious diseases at The University of Texas Medical School in Houston, in the news release.

Methicillin-Resistant Infections

Cohen's study of 1,637 staph infections showed that 21% were resistant to the antibiotic methicillin. Of 176 resistant bacteria studied, 59% were acquired in the community and 42% were hospital-acquired.

About one in five patients with community-acquired resistant infections did not have diabetes or use intravenous drugs, which heightens risk for antibiotic-resistant infections.

"In the next few years, the routine antibiotics used to treat staph infection in healthy folks likely will not work anymore," says Cohen. "We may need to use more expensive drugs, or those with more side effects."

More Methicillin Resistance

In Houston's hospitals, 60 children were treated for community-acquired staph infections. Of those, 45% turned out to have methicillin-resistant infections.

Another not-yet-completed study shows that, in upcoming years, nearly 70% of staph infections will be resistant to methicillin, says Heresi. "It seems as though the bacteria are more virulent," she says.

One child developed a serious hip infection and, as a result, developed a blood clot in the leg that could have been fatal.

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