Several years ago, the news didn’t show hospitals in the best light. There were countless stories of superbugs and this prompted wholesale changes in establishments all around the world.
Following these outbreaks, it would be fair to say that hospitals have gotten much wiser to the problem. Strict hygiene policies have been developed, while CaviCide and other similar inventions mean that the environment contains far fewer risks.
All of the above has been done to scupper the effects of superbugs. While more and more will always be discovered, at the moment the following four are the major players and the ones that hospitals are desperately trying to thwart.
Let’s start with one of the most renowned superbugs there is. MRSA has been in the news for years and unsurprisingly, it’s for all the wrong reasons.
While one could pen a whole dissertation on the way in which MRSA attacks the body, all that most people need to know is that it breaks its way through the skin and into the bloodstream. Antibiotics are largely ineffective and the fact that mortality rate for this infection is 35% says everything about its destructiveness.
The reason it is so common in hospitals is because it doesn’t harm anyone who is healthy. In other words, it targets those with weakened immune systems, and it only takes a break in hygiene for the bacteria to develop and ultimately spread.
In similar vein to MRSA, E.coli is another virus that is very difficult to treat with antibiotics. The big difference is that the average person is more susceptible to this bug; in other words, in the hospital environment, it’s not just patients who could be affected.
Most people will catch E.coli through not washing their hands after going to the bathroom. Again, it reinforces all of the hand hygiene policies that hospitals have now implemented.
Out of all of the conditions we have looked at so far, Norovirus is the one which isn’t necessarily limited to the hospital environment. In fact, millions of people contract it every year and in comparison to the previous two, it’s nowhere near as severe.
Simply put, it is intestinal flu. It is transferred by any food or water which has been contaminated, which probably gives a good indication on how it can become prevalent in medical establishments as well.
One of the big similarities between a lot of the superbugs we have looked at is the fact that they are transferred by the hands. It again reinforces the importance of washing hands in a hospital setting.
In the case of Clostridium Difficile, this is one bacterium which doesn’t typically hurt the healthy person. Instead, it’s much more harmful for those who have weakened immune systems. Once it spreads, toxins are created which can attack the intestines and it’s at this point in which the condition becomes hard to treat.
It’s worth mentioning that Clostridium Difficile actually resides in a lot of healthy people – but problems arise when the levels surpass the “safe” barrier and start to cause symptoms.