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Medical Edge: Superbugs

Updated: Thursday, November 21 2013, 10:52 PM EST
CINCINNATI (Liz Bonis) -- That minor bug we used to cure with a quick prescription might become the very thing that puts you in the hospital.

Medical reporter Liz Bonis asks experts at TriHealth about superbugs in Thursday's Medical Edge.

Mary Groh was back home after cancer treatment recently when suddenly she noticed, I didnt' feel well, I didn't know what was the matter.

When her doctor took a quick blood test, He said go right to the hospital, don't go home, don't pack a bag, go right to the hospital.

Once there she found out not only was a bacterial infection spreading rapidly in her body but she also had pneumonia.  Both are common health concerns that are fairly easy to treat with antibiotics.  But a new report from the Centers for Disease Control says we are entering into a new era of Superbugs.

This means bacteria are mutating and outsmarting traditional treatments.  The problem is that could lead to a major health concern where a simple antibiotic that used to treat a problem doesn't anymore. 

That means you could die of that problem when we used to be able to cure it.
Dr. Stephen Blatt said, If the antibiotics stop working for routine bacterial infections then you may see patients dying of illnesses we could cure 2 or 3 years ago.

Doctor Stephen Blatt is an infection control specialist who's been closely following this trend.

We are starting to run into problems as the bacteria become more resistant, we are starting to see some infections that are very difficult to treat, in fact, resistant to the antibiotics we have used for years.

Mary Groh is one of the lucky ones, she says within days her infection and pneumonia did respond to the antibiotics she was given. 

She says now on a scale of one to ten in terms of how much better she feels, Today?  Ten, that is a miracle antibiotic, and I hope I never become resistant to it!

Others however may not be so lucky. 

The one that's become really infamous lately is called CRE and that's a kind of bacteria that routinely had caused minor urinary tract infections but is now starting to become much more resistant to antibiotics and in some cases, especially in patients who've been hospitalized, we are running completely out of antibiotics to treat that organism.

In some cases older antibiotics are tried but many can cause serious complications, such as liver and kidney damage. 

Doctor Blatt says the only real answer is in new treatments for these superbugs, otherwise, Patients are going to succumb to those resistant infections where we could have cured them in the recent past.

Those new treatments may have to be funded through government research, there's not a lot of profit for pharmaceutical companies to make superbug antibiotics.

And remember Local 12 welcomes your questions for providers at TriHealth, just click, Ask the Expert.

Video HEREMedical Edge: Superbugs

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