• Question: How often do people self-create superbugs?

    Asked by sophienorth to Alexandra, Alex, Ashley, Millie, Claire, Claudia, Damian, Daniel, Dave, Donna, Eóghan, Hannah, Helen, Jason, Jo, Joaquin, Joey, Laura, Lauren, Laurent, Leo, Liza, Marion, Nathan, Beccy on 28 Jun 2018.
    • Photo: Liza Selley

      Liza Selley answered on 28 Jun 2018:


      I’m not too sure what you mean by self-create? I don’t think anybody aims to produce a superbug – unless for terrorism. A super bug is one that has become resistant to the antibiotics that can usually treat it. MRSA for example stands for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus and basically means that the usual strain of staph aureus which can cause minor infections in the throat and skin has mutated so that it can’t be killed by treatment with methicillin antibiotics.
      Superbugs like this develop because bacteria has the ability to alter it’s genetics quickly and to share advantageous changes with their neighbours. The more we use antibiotics, the higher the chances are of bacteria developing ways to do this. That’s why you should never take antibiotics unless the doctor is sure that bacteria rather than a virus has made you ill.

    • Photo: Joanne Sharpe

      Joanne Sharpe answered on 28 Jun 2018:


      I hope no one is trying to make a superbug!! They are resistant to antibiotics and are set to become a massive problem if we don’t do something to stop them! They arise when their DNA mutates and allows them to escape the mechanisms by which the antibiotics work. If we can no longer use antibiotics, simple procedures we take for granted like routine surgery could result in deadly infection!

    • Photo: Claire Donald

      Claire Donald answered on 28 Jun 2018:


      We are in the middle of a war with superbugs! People can accidentally make superbugs by incorrectly taking antibiotics. If you prescribed antibiotics to treat an infection you need to take the whole course even if you are feeling better. This is so you kill off all of the bugs making you sick. Thats really important because if you leave any behind, they can develop resistance to that drug which means you cant use that drug to treat that bacterial infection again. The resistant bugs could spread so that more people then get infected but cannot treat the infection as effectively. The bacteria can become resistant to multiple drugs if the infection is treated incorrectly with other drugs. Treating a viral infection with antibiotics can also cause the generation of superbugs as viruses can only be treated with antivirals, so your natural bacteria are affected instead.

      Scientists are working on new drugs to help treat these superbugs but it takes a long time to do this so please take your drugs responsibly!

    • Photo: Lauren Burns

      Lauren Burns answered on 28 Jun 2018:


      Three great answers there, I think the experts have answered this question really well 🙂

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