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Micro Biology - Multi Drug Resistant Organism

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Multidrug Resistant Infections

Bonnie Nichole Rhoades

Micro Biology

Paula Curbo

March, 2011

Multidrug Resistant Infections

In a typical healthy adult, infections are generally more of an inconvenience than a threat. While treatment of an infection can be an uncomfortable nuisance, recovery is generally quick and expected without long term effects with the proper care and medical intervention. With those suffering from existing medical conditions an infection takes on a more serious connotation, risking the possibility of substantial long term detriment of overall health and slowing recovery. In either case, the proper drugs are initiated to combat the underlying bacteria or organism causing the infection and effective treatment brings about healing. But what happens if the infection doesn't subside even after appropriate treatment is implemented? What happens if the infesting organism is resilient to the pharmacy's prescription arsenal? How do you treat the untreatable? A growing concern in the field of healthcare is the existence of these impervious infecting agents, known collectively as multidrug resistant organisms (MDRO).

What Are They?

Multidrug resistant organisms are microorganisms (primarily bacteria) that have developed immunity to antimicrobial treatment drugs and serve as the causative agent in multidrug resistant infections (MDRI). Inadequate dosages, early discontinuation, or delayed initiation of medication fails to fully rid the body of the bacteria, killing off the weak pathogens and leaving the strong behind. This allows the organism to mutate with increasing durability and develop immunity to the drug's therapeutic effects. With over-use of broad spectrum antibiotics destroying the normal flora ("good bacteria") along with the bad, the natural defense mechanisms are weakened and leave the body vulnerable for pathogenic invasion (deWit, Medical-Surgical Nursing 2009). These potentially infectious agents can exist in our environment and on our persons, colonizing without contaminating until an auto-infection or cross contamination occurs. Highly contagious and easily transferred through contact, these bacteria and organisms are impervious to pharmacological intervention. They are associated with high morbidity, high mortality, extended hospital stays, increased cost of care, and have emerged as a primary concern both in the hospital and non-hospital setting (http://www.cdc.gov).

Why Are They Here?

These superinfections have increased exponentially in number in the last decade and continue to spread explosively amongst the hospital patient population. These bacteria that pose such a pronounced potential hazard spread rampantly and cause one to question how it is that they have such opportunity to migrate. The reasoning behind such concerns is a combination of contributing factors. Lack of colonization screenings allow patients colonized or infected with drug resistant organisms into the hospital, running the risk of auto-infection and cross contamination. Inadequate adherence to infection control procedures by healthcare workers allows unconscious distribution of the bacteria. Conscious but careless hygiene practices allow for easy cross contamination (http://www.dshs.state.tx.us).

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