Health officials are issuing awareness about a bug that is very difficult to treat due to antibiotic resistance.
Dr. Mark Rupp is an infectious disease specialist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and says the organism in question is a group of organisms that we find colonized in people’s gastrointestinal tracts and have become increasingly resistant to certain classes of antibiotics.
This makes it much more difficult to treat patients with these illnesses. Dr. Rupp says this is nothing new and has been a concern for the past ten years or so.
Dr. Rupp says, “If you have one of these infections caused by one of these organisms the symptoms would be the same as if it was caused by another organism. If you have pneumonia caused by this or any other organism you are going to have cough, fever, chest pain. Likely if you have a urinary tract infection you would be having burning when you urinate and the feeling you have to go all the time. Those types of symptoms.”
Dr. Rupp says the antibiotics that we would typically use to treat an infection caused by an organism such as this would not respond because it would be resistant. That is where the real problem lies. We have fewer and fewer choices of antibiotics to treat these organisms and as time goes on they become more resistant.
According to Dr. Rupp, the take home message is folks need to be aware of this issue. They need to practice a lot of caution when they are on antibiotics and you don’t want to be taking them unless they are absolutely necessary. He says obviously if there is an infection caused by bacteria they want to treat it but if it is a viral variety that is common this time of year, a cold or the flu, antibiotics have no role in the treatment.
When antibiotics are used inappropriately to treat a virus we are just helping bacteria to become more resistant.