Yes, flesh-eating bacteria and antibiotic cream are linked says researchers. The overuse of OTC ointment has created a type of MRSA that is drug-resistant. The USA300 bacteria is now a superbug.
Got a cut? Don't reach for that tube of bacitracin and neomycin just yet -- until you understand the hazards in using it excessively.
Researchers in Nagoya, Japan were able to study samples of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, commonly called MRSA.
Surprisingly, they found that while some strains of MRSA are treated effectively with over-the-counter antibiotic ointments containing bacitracin and neomycin, USA300 is resistant to both.
Subsequently, researchers developed a link between flesh-eating bacteria and antibiotic cream.
They believe the connection involves the overuse of OTC products as a remedy for everyday cuts and abrasions. Consequently, excessive use leads to necrotizing fasciitis.
And while MRSA in the US is becoming resistant to over-the-counter ointments, some strains are treated with vancomycin. On the contrary, researchers warn that ointment therapy is ineffective against USA300.
"People should understand that triple antibiotic [ointment] is not almighty, and avoid preventive or excessive use of this ointment," said Masahiro Suzuki, an author of the study.
In 2009, Dr. Oz talked about the deadly superbug on the Oprah Winfrey show. It was an extreme case of how insidious the drug-resistant bacteria can become. Yet, it is important to understand the hazards in overusing OTC antibiotics.
Today, the flesh-eating bacteria and antibiotic cream link is partly responsible for the USA300 drug-resistant bacteria's spread into the community. Historically, it's been found primarily in hospital settings.
"We can't treat people because the organisms have become resistant to everything," said Suzuki.
Although advances in medicine increases life-expectancies in the United States, the resultant increase in superbugs threatens to diminish its quality.
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