It’s the first time that a superbug virus, named Clostridium difficile (C. diff) has evolved on our planet, according to the report, which also notes that the superbug was discovered in America and had yet to infect any humans outside of those that have access to antibiotics. This means, say scientists like Dr. Michael Yager, that the next time a superbug that’s already evolved an antibiotic to defeat us will hit the U.S. that we, as a nation, should do everything in our power to prevent that superbug killing anyone. “This is an extremely troubling development,” says Dr. Yager, an infectious diseases physician at the Columbia University Medical Center Health Program. “This is a very rare occurrence that happened because we aren’t putting enough effort into the fight against deadly bacteria.” At the same time, Dr. Yager notes that not all bacteria have evolved antibiotic resistance to these antibiotics.
“We do now know that only about 1 percent of all bacteria have evolved resistance in the last 10 years,” says Dr. Yager. “We do not have enough information to support a strong conclusion about which strains will evolve resistance and when,” he says. And even if bacteria do evolve resistance, the best prevention and control measures rely on those resistant bacteria being destroyed or killed before they can become part of a community, Yager says. “You cannot get an infection from a population where the resistant bacteria are already present,” he says.
When it comes to how to prevent and treat C. diff, Dr. Yager says that the best way to get your hands on it is to always wash your hands and keep it that way. And “if you start thinking that there’s something in the water that has C. diff in it, you should wash that up,” he says. You shouldn’t, though, ever share that contaminated water with other people if you suspect that your bathroom is infected with C. diff. “C. diff bacteria don’t give a whole lot of body waste they mostly leave that in feces. If, even in small amounts, it gets into a community, you can get some pretty nasty stuff,” Yager said. “Coughing up all that fecal discharge is just gross,” he said.
And if you need to throw up, there’s an easy but still effective way to help your immune system out by drinking a glass of water before bed. It’s also important to follow the CDC’s guidelines to avoid getting C. diff on clothing or skin. Most importantly, make sure that someone else doesn’t do anything that will compromise your own body’s own abilities to fight C. diff. That’s because just by getting C. diff on your skin, you’re putting an infection in motion that will eventually kill everyone in the group.
The CDC also notes that it’s important that anyone who becomes infected by C. diff avoid contact with blood, water, and bodies that are likely to harbor bacteria. This means staying away from places where there are people with C. diff. While people have not been infected with deadly C. diff organisms across the continent, it is dangerous for people to come in direct contact with those who are already infected. And we recommend taking precautions. For example, anyone in close contact with someone with C. diff should make sure to change water and dishwashing water often.
C. diff bacteria don’t harm anyone in the immediate vicinity of an ill person with that illness and the bacteria doesn’t usually spread with open wounds. But as long as the source of infection is open and not cleaned up properly, it can put people at risk with other infection-causing organisms like MRSA and E. coli.