Rise of the superbugs: This isn’t a movie
Thursday, June 16, 2016
Superbugs aren’t insects. But they can be a pest for physicians and their patients.
Superbugs are strains of bacteria that cause serious infections that have become resistant to several types of antibiotics. Because superbugs often cause such infections in healthcare settings, doctors and hospitals are seeing more of them.
The good news is that America’s healthcare providers are doing a better job of preventing infections caused by superbugs, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even so, the CDC urges continued vigilance.
“We’re always on guard, working to make sure healthy patients stay healthy and others don’t get worse. We make sure we follow the CDC guidelines,” says Dr. Lynn Wagner of BayCare Clinic Emergency Physicians.
The CDC’s strategy for fighting superbugs: Urging healthcare providers to prevent the spread of bacteria between patients, to prevent infections related to surgery and/or the placement of a catheter, and to improve their handling of antibiotics.
Superbugs are serious business. More than 2 million people develop antibiotic-resistant infections and at least 23,000 people die each year because of such infections, according to the CDC.
Among the superbugs posing the most serious threats are:
- CDIFF, or C. difficile, which causes life-threatening diarrhea and is often caused by overuse of antibiotics.
- CRE, or carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, often seen in those using catheters or ventilators.
- MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, often seen as skin infections outside healthcare facilities or as bloodstream infections among healthcare patients.
Dr. Lynn Wagner is an integrative lifestyle medicine physician with BayCare Clinic. She is fellowship trained in Integrative Medicine and offers this increasingly popular approach to healthcare to patients in Northeast Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Dr. Wagner is also board certified in Emergency Medicine which gives her a unique combination of skills to care for her patients.
Away from the office, the Green Bay area native enjoys running, cycling with her family, hiking, spending time with her family and relishes the excitement of all the outdoors activities Wisconsin’s winter season has to offer.