As Plus previously reported, it is known that viruses in our bodies have strengthened to become what we call “superbugs.” Well, it’s now known that one family of superbugs known as carbapenem-resistent Enterobacteriaceae may be spreading more widely than we thought.
To make matters worse, according to the study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, people who have these kinds of superbugs often don’t show any symptoms.
"We often talk about the rising tide of antibiotic resistance in apocalyptic terms," William Hanage, senior author of the study and an associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard Chan School, said in a statement. "But we should always remember that the people who are most at risk of these things would be at risk for any infection, because they are often among the frailer people in the health care system."
While antibiotics are meant to suppress these viruses, unfortunately patients today are overloaded with them, which has created a resistance to them — thus making viruses stronger and harder to suppress. Such was the case of a Nevada women who died after an infection that was resistant to 26 antibiotics, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is basically every single antibiotic in the United States. After getting an infection from a leg fracture in India, she was isolated so the superbug would not transmit to other patients.
The research team from Harvard-MIT examined around 250 samples of people who had CRE in various hospitals over a 16 month period. Because they found little evidence of transmission at the beginning, Hanage and his team determined it might be occurring without causing direct symptoms; ultimately making many people “carriers” without ever getting sick themselves.