Drug-resistant "super bugs" concern mid-Missouri doctors

5 months 8 hours 13 minutes ago September 21, 2016 Sep 21, 2016 Wednesday, September 21 2016 Wednesday, September 21, 2016 4:11:00 PM CDT in News
By: Kiara Ealy, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA- A new study published in Consumer Reports found misuse and over-prescription of antibiotics in hospitals breeds "super bugs," or infections resistant to antibiotics. 

The study, which was conducted by the CDC, looked at antibiotic use in 300 hospitals from 2006-2012. 

"A third of antibiotics are prescribed when they aren’t needed, for things such as the flu and other viral infections that don’t respond to antibiotics," according to Consumer Reports.

Bacteria that cause C. Difficilie and MRSA are some of the common bacteria that are becoming more resistant to antibiotics. C. Difficilie is an inflammation of the colon and causes diarrhea, stomach pain and fever. MRSA is a staph skin infection that causes bumps similar to pimples and spider bites. 

In mid-Missouri, Boone Hospital Center reported four MRSA infections and 68 C. Difficilie cases from Oct. 1, 2014- Sept. 30, 2015, which were 34 and 37 percent worse than national averages respectively. In that same period, the University of Missouri Hospitals and Clinics were 18 percent better in MRSA cases and 12 percent worse in C. Difficilie infections.

Boone Hospital Center's Dr. Donald Gerhardt, who specializes in gastroenterology, said infectious diseases, such as C. Difficilie are commonly aggravated by antibiotics. 

"The problem that causes the disease is an alteration in one's normal bacteria flora," Gerhardt said. "Certain things in life, or certain things you do, or certain things you're given may change normal, protective gut flora - probably highest on the list are antibiotics."

Gerhardt said chemotherapy, aging, and other medical issues, such as inflammatory bowel disease, can cause C. Difficilie.

Leslie Duckworth, the manager of quality patient safety and infection prevention at Boone Hospital Center, leads the effort of reducing over usage of antibiotics at the hospital.

"We are trying to help them learn, help our patients understand, that not every illness needs to be treated with antibiotics," Duckworth said. "Many times, just those things you do to take care of yourself at home are the prescription we have for you to recover from a viral type of illness, which really aren't treated with antibiotics."

Duckworth stressed the importance of hand washing and covering coughs and sneezes to prevent the spread of infections. On top of those known preventative measures, Boone Hospital Center has an Antibiotics Stewardship Committee. 

"They review the types of antibiotics that are being prescribed for the patients and provide guidance to our physicians on which types of antibiotics will be beneficial for the different infections that are present," Duckworth said. 

To find out how local hospitals performed in the study, visit the Consumer Reports website.

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