A new superbug is devouring patients in the US and Israel according to a report by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The study claims that 350 people have died as a result of the drug-resistant bacteria (akin to MRSA which has been tearing up hospitals in the UK for years).
My biggest problem with the study is that it doesn’t indicate what length of time the observations were carried out over, so the figure of 350 deaths is a little misleading. At least it doesn’t mention zombies staggering about eating people’s faces in a bid to feel better about their own, rotting shortcomings. And thank god; who wants to see them shuffling about, moaning and oozing, knocking things over and generally ruining the neighbourhood like a bunch of smelly American Idol fans? Not me for sure.
Sorry to disappoint all the Romero and Resident Evil fans out there.
So what is this superbug anyway? Well, it’s technical name is Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE (thank GOD I don’t have to write that again)) and it is a form of micro-bacteria that is immune to drug treatments and most anti-bacterial agents making it incredibly dangerous to patients with prolonged or chronic illness, as well as those with invasive devices such as catheters.
Finding information in simple terms about CRE has proved incredibly difficult and the only literature available seems to be high level medical journals and theses. The CDC website has a section on CRE but nowhere does it actually say where the bug came from or how it suddenly became such a problem.
Hold on zombie fans, you could be in luck yet because here’s where we get to explore some ideas.
Conspiracy theorists (nuts) would probably like to imagine that the bug is man-made and is part of the huge population cull that secret world leaders have been threatening for centuries. Of course they haven’t done it yet because their ‘Evil Villain’ patter isn’t quite up to scratch or they haven’t got the world’s attention, despite some ‘news’ outlets claiming that the New World Order does all its business right out in the open.
I won’t hold my breath waiting for the great cull to happen as speculation is about as valid as a research article that doesn’t give a time scale.
So what else could it be?
According to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Enterobacteriaceae is a commonly found family of bacteria which lives in soil and water. CRE describes strains that have become resistant to antibiotics (in much the same way that rats have become immune to certain poisons) and because they are found in hospitals they have become a major health concern.
[adsense]VDH state that it is treatable but patients in intensive care are probably at the greatest risk of death as a result of the bacteria finding its way into the body. Due to the small number of antibiotics that can effectively deal with CRE it is hard to stem its potency.
The bacteria can spread from patient to patient via skin contact, for instance on the hands of care workers or nurses; and hospitals take special care to ensure any instances of outbreaks are isolated as quickly as possible.
CRE has been attributed to pneumonia, bladder, bloodstream and kidney infections.
Ok so that puts the zombie-retro-virus theory out of the picture. Sorry conspiracy theorists; better luck next time.
Please share your thoughts about CRE, zombies or related matters by leaving a comment.
images: deskofbrian.com; wordpunk.co.uk