Antibiotic resistance leads to a “silent pandemic”: Klebsiella bacteria are spreading rapidly in Europe

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Antibiotics kill bacteria and prevent them from spreading. This has made them an indispensable remedy against bacterial infections.
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Jenny WagnerEditor News

The invention of penicillin 95 years ago revolutionized the world: suddenly bacterial infections were no longer fatal. But one trend is worrying: more and more bacteria are resistant to antibiotics. The spread of these germs is extremely dangerous.

New antibiotic-resistant bacteria are currently widespread, especially in Greek hospitals, writes the “Ärzteblatt”. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) warns about the so-called ‘Klebsiella pneumoniae’ bacteria. The two strains ST39 and ST323 are relatively new and are currently emerging in Europe. According to the “Ärzteblatt” these are “very resistant strains” that spread quickly.

Antibiotic-resistant germs are also circulating in Switzerland. Anne Lévy (52), director of the BAG, called increased antibiotic resistance a ‘silent pandemic’ in a speech in June 2019. The ‘Swiss Antibiotic Resistance Strategy’, launched in 2015, has set targets on behalf of politicians to contain the spread of this pandemic.

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Klebsiella pneumoniae is a bacterium that spreads quickly through the body. It does not harm healthy people. However, antibiotic resistance makes treating bacterial infections virtually impossible and can lead to death.

This kills 1.3 million people every year

Klebsiella germs can also cause new infections. For example, inflammation in the lung lobes, urinary tract infections, bronchitis, middle ear infections, sepsis or meningitis – all diseases for which antibiotics are commonly prescribed.

“Antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest global threats to public health,” the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement last week. Every year, 1.3 million people die worldwide due to infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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Risk groups are people with a weakened immune system

The main reason for the rapid spread is the overuse of antibiotics. According to the WHO, the drug is prescribed too often and incorrectly, which reduces its effectiveness.

Antibiotic resistance is also a political problem. Due to the high use of antibiotics in livestock farming, resistant bacteria can enter the human body through meat and milk. The use of a range of antibiotics in animals is now banned in the EU and Switzerland.

The elderly and people with a weakened immune system are particularly at risk from Klebsiella pneumoniae. Risk groups include organ transplant recipients, cancer patients and patients undergoing invasive procedures.

Klebsiella pneumoniae is one of the most dangerous germs found in hospitals. Even if healthy people do not suffer from Klebsiella infections, they can transmit the pathogens. The resistant bacteria spread both through skin contact and through contact on contaminated surfaces.

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What helps against antibiotic resistance?

But how do you protect yourself against antibiotic-resistant bacteria? Strict hygiene regulations in hospitals and clinics must be adhered to to protect the most vulnerable. You should especially wash your hands before eating, when treating wounds, after coughing and sneezing and when using the toilet.

But: There is no ‘cure’ for antibiotic resistance. According to the German Robert Koch Institute, the spread cannot be prevented, but only slowed down.

Source: Blick

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Amelia

Amelia

I am Amelia James, a passionate journalist with a deep-rooted interest in current affairs. I have more than five years of experience in the media industry, working both as an author and editor for 24 Instant News. My main focus lies in international news, particularly regional conflicts and political issues around the world.

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