Deadly bacteria
Worrying numbers
1.2 million deaths
Dr. Fleming's miracle cure
Antimicrobial resistence
Medical nightmare
10 million deaths every year
More dangerous than Covid-19
Antibiotic misuse
Factory farming
Free-range
Children are the most vulnerable
Scientific alarm
Karen Northshield
2016 Brussels Attacks
A success story
Bacteriophage
Bacteria eater
One-two viral punch
'The Revenge of the Bateria'
Experimental stage
The fight continues
Ciencia y salud
Superbugs: a drug-resistant threat to our health
(1/22)
Deadly bacteria

Superbugs are strains of bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi that are resistant to most of the antibiotics and other medications commonly used to treat the infections they cause, as explained by the Mayo Clinic.

Ciencia y salud
Superbugs: a drug-resistant threat to our health
(2/22)
Worrying numbers

These antibiotic-resistant mutations have gone from being pretty rare to causing thousands of deaths.

Ciencia y salud
Superbugs: a drug-resistant threat to our health
(3/22)
1.2 million deaths

The number of superbug-related casualties every year is around 1.2 million deaths, according to research published by the medical journal The Lancet on January 2022. This is more than the deaths caused by HIV or malaria.

Ciencia y salud
Superbugs: a drug-resistant threat to our health
(4/22)
Dr. Fleming's miracle cure

Ever since Alexander Fleming (pictured) discovered penicillin in 1928, antibiotics have been a cornerstone of medical treatment, saving countless lives over the years.

Ciencia y salud
Superbugs: a drug-resistant threat to our health
(5/22)
Antimicrobial resistence

Antibiotic misuse and abuse have caused microbes to learn how to fend off the effects of medication. This is called antimicrobial resistance, and it's one of the biggest concerns in the medical world today.

Ciencia y salud
Superbugs: a drug-resistant threat to our health
(6/22)
Medical nightmare

Antimicrobial resistance could bring a true medical nightmare. If antibiotics are rendered useless, then very little can be done against bacterial infection. Extreme measures, such as amputating limbs, would be necessary for such scenarios.

Ciencia y salud
Superbugs: a drug-resistant threat to our health
(7/22)
10 million deaths every year

The Lancet study speculates that, if superbugs continue to develop, in 30 years these devastating microbes could become the cause of death of 10 million people every year.

Ciencia y salud
Superbugs: a drug-resistant threat to our health
(8/22)
More dangerous than Covid-19

For comparison, the Covid-19 pandemic is responsible for over 5 million casualties in a span of over two and a half years. Superbugs can easily surpass that count.

Imagen: Martin Sánchez / Unsplash

Ciencia y salud
Superbugs: a drug-resistant threat to our health
(9/22)
Antibiotic misuse

Scientists agree that the constant abuse and misuse of antibiotics caused microbes to evolve in order to defend themselves. The outcome? Superbugs.

Image: Unsplash / Volodymyr Hryshchenko

Ciencia y salud
Superbugs: a drug-resistant threat to our health
(10/22)
Factory farming

Livestock raised in intensive animal farming, also known as factory farming, is also fed with a massive amount of antibiotics.

Image: Unsplash / Iñigo de la Maza

Ciencia y salud
Superbugs: a drug-resistant threat to our health
(11/22)
Free-range

Currently, an increasing number of countries have restricted the use of antibiotics on animals and meat is analyzed to make sure it doesn't have any trace of it. Meanwhile, free-range animals, such as the sheep pictured here, are an alternative that is gaining popularity.

Image: Sam Carter / Unsplash

Ciencia y salud
Superbugs: a drug-resistant threat to our health
(12/22)
Children are the most vulnerable

Children are particularly vulnerable to superbugs, since their immune system is still developing. A study by the Case Western Reserve University on over 10,000 child patients revealed in 2017 an increase of 700% cases in only ten years.

Ciencia y salud
Superbugs: a drug-resistant threat to our health
(13/22)
Scientific alarm

Superbugs have caused alarm within the scientific community. Currently, there's no way to deal with them beyond a few bacterial infection vaccines and a couple of experimental treatments.

Ciencia y salud
Superbugs: a drug-resistant threat to our health
(14/22)
Karen Northshield

One of the most successful cases against superbugs is Belgian-American Karen Northshield, pictured here with crutches. She managed to survive one of the worst infections recorded in medical history.

Ciencia y salud
Superbugs: a drug-resistant threat to our health
(15/22)
2016 Brussels Attacks

Northshield is a survivor of the 2016 attack on the Brussels Airport by the Islamic State. Her recovery from these wounds was halted in 2021 due to the development of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in her body.

Ciencia y salud
Superbugs: a drug-resistant threat to our health
(16/22)
A success story

Doctors said that the infection Northshield had developed was more dangerous than the wounds received from the airport attack. She went through a series of amputations until an experimental technique with a bacteriophage virus stopped the bacteria for good, according to Nature.

Ciencia y salud
Superbugs: a drug-resistant threat to our health
(17/22)
Bacteriophage

Professor Kevin Doxzen, from the Arizona State University, explains over The Conversation that bacteriophages, also known as phages, are viruses that infect the bacteria.

Ciencia y salud
Superbugs: a drug-resistant threat to our health
(18/22)
Bacteria eater

“The phages survive by infecting bacteria, replicating and bursting out from their host, which destroys the bacterium”, writes Doxzen. The name bacteriophage literally means “bacteria eater”.

Ciencia y salud
Superbugs: a drug-resistant threat to our health
(19/22)
One-two viral punch

Sometimes phages only weaken the bacteria, which then requires regular antibiotics to finish off the job. This is what happened to Karen Northshield, as published by Nature.

Ciencia y salud
Superbugs: a drug-resistant threat to our health
(20/22)
'The Revenge of the Bateria'

Research on superbugs and how to deal with them is important. As a 2019 headline from The New York Times summed up succinctly, this is “The Revenge of the Bacteria”.

Ciencia y salud
Superbugs: a drug-resistant threat to our health
(21/22)
Experimental stage

Bacteriophage treatments are currently in the experimental stage. Most healthcare services haven't approved them as of now.

Ciencia y salud
Superbugs: a drug-resistant threat to our health
(22/22)
The fight continues

The fight against superbugs continues in hospitals and labs, but also when dealing with medication (both for humans and animals). Antibiotics only should be used when it's completely necessary.

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