'Super bugs' are tough little critters - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

'Super bugs' are tough little critters

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Health officials say dangerous bacteria are becoming more common in hospitals across the country. These super bugs have become extremely resistant to treatment with antibiotics.

 They primarily impact people who have had extensive exposure to healthcare and have either been in the hospital, or a long term care facility.

"Because of the antibiotics, the patients may receive because they've been in a hospital for a prolonged period of time, they develop drug resistance and then they can actually become pathogenic rather than coexist peacefully inside the body," Said Dr. Douglas Patten of Phoebe Putney.

"We haven't really seen it as a cause of infection in otherwise healthy people in the community. So it's really that healthcare exposure that seems to be the biggest risk factor," said Alex Kallen of Phoebe.

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control say these bacteria were rare before 2000, but they're seeing an increase. A government report shows one in 25 hospitals saw at least one case last year.

"We're not overrun with them, but we do see them periodically. As a tertiary referral hospital, we get patients sent to us, who have been in another hospital for a week or two weeks, or longer," said Patten.

Phoebe Putney Memorial hospital is also seeing a high volume of patients. Which gives doctors there even more of a reason to keep an eye on super bugs.

"We're aware of it, we search for these bugs, we protect other patients from patients that have these infections so that your risk from getting it from another patient while your here, is as close to zero as we can make it," said Patten.

Doctors there will put patients they believe are at high risk of getting the bacteria in isolation, in addition to tracking their antibiotics at the pharmacy. Health officials say the best way to prevent infection is basic hand hygiene.

 Doctors say it's also a good idea to have a conversation with your doctor to make sure you're not taking antibiotics you don't have to have.

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