You might have heard about the new scare spreading around worldwide, the “superbugs.” But, what are they really? Knowledge is power as they say and truth is, it is.
Knowing what you are facing is half the battle won and taking the necessary precautions will lessen your chances of getting the disease.
They were practically called the “superbugs” because of its high resistance to almost all antibacterial agents even the strongest class that are usually reserved for multi-resistant bacteria.
The “superbug” was first discovered initially in South Asia and Britain where several patients were discovered to have the NDM-1 bacteria, the scientific name for the “superbug.”
Dt. Timothy Walsh of Cardiff’s University discovered the NDM-1 in 2 species of bacteria – Klebsiella pneumoniae and Escherichia coli.
These 2 species of bacteria have mutated and jumped across several other bacteria making them build resistance to even the strongest of antibiotics like carbapenems.
What was surprising was that, most of the patients who contracted the “superbug” came from and was admitted in India to have a cosmetic surgery done. Other cases were also found in Bangladesh and Pakistan, those who acquired the bug also had undergone plastic surgery as well.
Of the two bacteria that were isolated to have the NDM-1, E. coli had the higher count among the patients with the infection. What is so alarming about this bug is its ability to replicate fast and copy the genes found on the DNA structure of other bacteria.
The symptoms of NDM-1 infection have no distinct face yet, but infections with E. coli and Klebsiella commonly affects the gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract and in rare cases the respiratory tract and in neonates the meninges.
Assumption can be made therefore that if NDM-1 has affected you, you may show signs of diarrhea, gastritis, nausea and vomiting if your stomach is affected.
If it is the urinary tract it could be symptoms of burning sensation when voiding, fever and chills, lower abdominal pain, feeling bloated, dark or straw colored urine and low back pain can be some of the symptoms.
If it’s the respiratory tract that is affected, you could experience cough and colds, sneezing, headache and fever.
Therefore transmission would be the same as acquiring the said diseases and it could be transferred in different methods like direct human contact, food preparation, hospital and clinic procedures, and poor hygiene.
Since there is no known cure yet to this bacteria, the best way for now to do to protect yourself is to strengthen your immune system so you will not readily contract the bacteria and avoid traveling to places where there are several known cases already.
If you are working in a health institution and are taking care of sick people, basic hand washing can give you a lot of protection.