MRSA has been making headlines with its resistance to antibiotics and the fear of the public of epidemics like the bird flu. Here is a look at the existence of MRSA, why it is dangerous, and what the future may hold.MRSA exists because of evolution. Survival of the fittest allows some bugs to advance, while others go extinct. Each step in the evolution train brings a new mutation in the strains of bacteria. This continues constantly, even as it moves from one victim to another.
With antibiotics, some bacteria are better at resisting than others. The weaker varieties die off, but the stronger ones may not. Each time the resistant bacteria are passed on it may come in contact with a different antibiotic, and each time it survives it becomes stronger. When you do not finish a full course of antibiotics, the stronger ones that live can go on to be resistant the next time they come in counter with that antibiotic again. If the strand develops resistance to multiple antibiotics, “super bugs” like MRSA are born.
Hospital patients are particularly at risk of MRSA. The patients in long term care tend to be older, sicker, and weaker than the average person, making them more susceptible to infections. Plus, with so many people living in close proximity, it is simple for bacteria to be transferred from one patient to another.
In weaker patients, MRSA can be dangerous, since it may not be able to be treated right away because of its resistance. This can lead to more serious infection and complications.
The medical community is worried about the future of MRSA. The number of infections continues to increase annually, as do the number of deaths because of the disease.
The other concern is of new super bugs coming on the scene. With current bacteria like MRSA becoming resistant to typical treatments, it does not seem long before a bacteria comes along that is resistant to all antibiotics.
For instance, a sister to MRSA, VRSA, is resistant to Vancomycin. Vancomycin is often considered to be the “last line of defense” for antibiotics, and is generally used only in severe infections that have not responded to other treatments. If super bugs like this continue to evolve, there will soon be no treatment for them.
The other concern is that as these bugs get stronger, they are also becoming better at surviving away from their host. Some can survive on floors, walls, and other surfaces for extended periods of time, making it easier for them to infect a new host.
Lastly, there is a concern that these resistant bacteria are showing up other places besides hospitals and medical care facilities. Entire sports teams, a normally healthy portion of the population, have come down with MRSA. Some kids that have never even been in a hospital have died from it. This is only proof that the bugs are getting stronger.
If current trends continue, there will come a time where we are defenseless against bacterial infections, which could have a dramatic impact on how society runs today.