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Seasonal Colds And The Flu: Epidemic Or Exaggeration?

1961 words - 8 pages

Seasonal colds and the flu are something that many are familiar with. They have symptoms ranging from common things like a sore throat and running nose, to body aches and just generally feeling ill. However, for Carlos Don, an athletic 12 year old, the common symptoms were a precursor to a severe bacterial infection by the name of MRSA. What his parents assumed was a normal seasonal illness turned out to be a devastating and ultimately fatal infection (Clemmitt 1). MRSA is a strain of the staph bacterium that has grown resistant to the usual treatment of methicillin, which gave the disease its name Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. It was first noticed in the early 1940’s but has grown increasing dangerous in the past few years (Gilboy 1).
One of the first signs is a small red bump that will appear to be a spider and can quickly turn into a life-threatening ailment. In the bacteria’s later stages it can cause things such as necrosis of soft tissues and even hemorrhaging pneumonia (Gilboy 1). There are two forms of MRSA, Community-acquired (CA) and Hospital-acquired (HA). CA occurs typically in large gatherings of people in a community setting, such as a camp or athletic event, and HA occurs when a patient contracts the staph virus after 72 hours or longer in a hospital stay (DeRoin 1). As a whole, MRSA is becoming a more prominent threat because of its adaptation to becoming resistant to treatment. It is suspected that there are several causes of this.
The medical industry and has taken to a habit of over prescribing the antibiotics for minor things which do not always need medication in order to please both the pharmacy and the patients desires to have pills (Clemmitt 3) This can be a problem because antibiotics can effectively kill bacteria that might cause an illness, but they sometimes only kill the weak ones and leave the stronger ones to flourish. (DeRoin 2) Which may be of the reasons why MRSA became resistant to methicillin, is because it was one of the stronger bacteria that was not immediately killed off by the drug. Livestock are also susceptible to the bacteria, as their food is saturated with antibiotics and steroids to increase the amount of meat and resources available on the animal. If the amount of antibiotics are increased for livestock, then the animals may have more dangerous illnesses develop as it is happening in humans, however, if the amount of antibiotics are decreased, it may severely impact the health of the animals now (Clemmitt 6-7).
Many questions are raised by the suggestion of reducing the use of antibiotics in both senses. For instance, it may negatively impact the pharmaceutical industry and discourage the invention of new drugs. In that case, not only is MRSA a major risk if it becomes resistant to other drugs, but different diseases that may arise in the future may not have a medication that works. Leading to many possible situations that can be concerning,
The type of MRSA known as...

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