The spread of multi-resistant germs has increased significantly in recent years
Antibiotics have long been considered a general-purpose weapon against all types of bacteria. Even with diseases often caused by viruses, e.g. Runny nose, some are prescribed. The result is increasingly common multiresistant germs, the so-called MRSA. According to an international study that examined the occurrence of infections in intensive care units, the number of gram-negative pathogens rose from 39 percent in 1992 to over 62 percent in 2007. The study further states that the number of deaths of infected patients in intensive care units was more than twice as high as in non-infected patients (source: Vincent JL, Rello J, Marshall J et al .: International Study of the prevalence and outcomes of infection in intensive care units).
What are multi-resistant germs? Bacteria of the Staphylococcus aureus strain, which are resistant to almost all antibiotics, are generally referred to as multi-resistant germs (MRSA = methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). This includes e.g. Penicillin.
When an antibiotic is administered, the pathogens are usually killed. However, mutations of some pathogens can make them resistant to the antibiotic. The resistant bacteria can continue to multiply and can also be passed on to other types of bacteria via the resistance-mediating genes. Resistance is favored by the use of certain cleaning agents that contain the so-called quaternary ammonium compounds with a disinfectant effect. Because the same genes of the bacteria that are resistant to the quaternary ammonium compounds also transmit the antibiotic resistance to the bacteria.
How does the germ get into the hospitals? In principle, everyone can transmit multi-resistant germs, even if the antibiotic treatment was long ago. The pathogens generally do not cause disease in healthy people. However, if the germs get into the body of a seriously ill person whose immune system is severely weakened, they can cause serious damage that can even lead to the patient's death. Typical consequences of an infection with MRSA are e.g. severe inflammation of surgical wounds, blood poisoning and pneumonia.
Preventive measures According to the German Society for Hospital Hygiene (DGKH), the Society for Hygiene, Environmental Medicine and Preventive Medicine (GHUP) and the Federal Association of Physicians in the Public Health Service (BVÖGD), around 30,000 people die in Germany every year from so-called hospital germs. Since both healthy visitors and the hospital staff can be considered carriers of the germs, special hygiene regulations must be observed. With the amendment to the Infection Protection Act introduced in 2001, the Federal Government wants to enforce better hygiene standards in hospitals and thereby counteract the spread of hospital infections and hospital pathogens. The Federal Ministry of Health speaks of 400,000 to 600,000 patients who develop infections associated with medical treatments in Germany every year. The Ministry continues to believe that these so-called nosocomial infections cannot be completely avoided, but can be greatly reduced by complying with the relevant hygiene regulations. Experts assumed that 20% to 30% of the infections could be avoided through the hygiene measures. The multi-resistant germs represent a major problem, since the pathogens are sometimes practically treatable due to their resistance. The Ministry sees the main causes in the improper prescription of antibiotics and in hygiene deficiencies that occur in both inpatient and outpatient settings.
The Federal Government wants to support the rational use of antibiotics by amending the Infection Protection Act. Furthermore, the hygiene regulations and recommendations should be better observed and implemented.
The Netherlands can be named as a pioneer in the fight against hospital infections. For the first time it was possible to reduce the infection rate to below one percent through targeted measures. This includes examining every new patient for MRSA. In the event of a positive test result, the patient is immediately isolated and treated with special antibiotics. The hospital staff is also obliged to comply with particularly strict hygiene regulations.
Naturopathy to combat bacteria and resistant germs In the discussion about bacteria and resistant germs, it is often neglected that natural active substances to combat pathogens occur in nature. Recently, Portuguese scientists published their results on the study of coriander oil to fight bacteria in the Journal of Medical Microbiology. The researchers found that the antibacterial coriander oil curbs bacterial growth. This also applies to multi-resistant germs. The scientists at the University of Beira Interior report that the coriander oil, the membrane that surrounds the cell, destroys and ultimately leads to the death of the bacterial cell. (ag)
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Picture: Dr. Karl HERRMANN / pixelio.de