Superbugs: Don’t Miss the Big Picture!

If you haven’t read the “Rogues Gallery of Superbugs” here on this blog, please take a look at it. It will help you make a lot more sense out of this post.  And keep in mind, the “Rogues Gallery” is only a partial listing of deadly Superbugs.  For example, Klebsiella Pneumoniae, Campylobacter and Streptococcus pneumoniae are also important, pathogenic bacteria which have developed dangerous and often deadly, multi drug-resistant strains which are also on the rise.  And, there are others.  Plus, we didn’t even mention infections caused by drug-resistant fungi (C. lusitaniae, C. krusei, C. neoformans, Trichosporon spp., A. terreus, S. apiospermum, Fusarium spp., Aspergillus, C. glabrata, C. norvegensis, C. albicans, C. dubliniensis, etc.).

The objective here is not to provide you with a complete encyclopedia of drug-resistant pathogens.  Rather, we are trying hard to make sure you see the big picture, which has become global in scale.  When you see an article on the subject in the newspaper or a news clip on TV, the content is focused, usually mentioning a single type or strain of Superbug.  One week you might read or hear about MRSA.  The next week you may see something about CDAD.  Then, another week you might hear about E. coli.  So far as they go, these isolated snippets of information are fine.  At the same time, however, they can be dangerously misleading.  You must not get the false impression that hospitals and other healthcare settings are merely having to occasionally deal with only one particular strain of Superbug at a time.  No, the battle is far greater than this.  We are no longer in a war with a particular strain of either MRSA, or Pseudomonas aeruginosa, or Enterococcus faecium, or Clostridium difficile, or E. coli, or Salmonella, or Acinetobacter baumannii, or Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, or Mycobacterium tuberculosis, etc.  Instead, and we can’t possibly emphasize this strongly enough, we are now engaged in a war with all of these multiple microbial adversaries simultaneously and the battlefield is now worldwide.  When you enter a hospital or other healthcare setting these days, you should assume that many of these different pathogens may be present, each strain having the potential to cause serious harm.

To put it in terms of the matinee movies illustration mentioned in the “About” section of this blog, there are no longer merely one or two “Indians” in war paint, looking at the handful of “Cowboys” from the canyon ridge.  There is now a whole multitude of them and they have already begun to charge the woefully outnumbered Cowboys who sit helplessly on their horses down on the canyon floor.  What makes this truly scary is that the cavalry the Cowboys have always depended upon is not only in disarray but the soldiers are almost completely out of bullets…