We’ve all caught a so-called “bug”, or virus, that can leave us feeling more than a little under the weather for days or even weeks at a time. The typical bug can result in upset stomach, vomiting, coughing, sneezing, headaches, and overall pain and fatigue while your body fights it off. Often, the bug doesn’t start to fade away until the patient is prescribed antibiotics.
So, if that’s a bug, then what’s a “superbug”? As the name suggests, it’s bacteria that’s highly resistant to many of the measures, including antibiotics, we use to fight illnesses and infections. The good news is that, today, superbugs remain relatively rare, but as people develop resistances to physicians’ go-to antibiotics, it’s expected superbugs will become more prevalent. In fact, some experts worry that superbugs could become far more common in roughly 20 to 30 years’ time, with infections killing millions of people. In the meantime, what do you need to know about these so-called superbugs?
1. What, exactly, is a superbug?
As you might expect, the word “superbug” is not the official medical term. Nevertheless, it has slowly become well-known about doctors all over the world as concerns about an emerging class of highly resistant and dangerous microbes rise.
At their core, most of these superbugs are very similar to the bacteria we’ve been struggling with for hundreds or even thousands of years.
But what sets these new superbugs apart is their remarkable resistance to antibiotics, the go-to treatment for serious infections for the last several generations. The problem is that bacteria are actually evolving and mutating in a way that makes it harder to kill them, making an infection harder to keep from spreading.