Superbugs becoming bigger problem

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The World Health Organization is warning that humans are losing the battle against superbugs. Some types of bacteria are now able to beat even the most powerful antibiotics. One of them, MRSA, kills about 19,000 Americans every year.

FOX 4 Medical Reporter Meryl Lin McKean talked with Dr. Christopher Harrison, an infectious disease specialist at Children's Mercy Hospital.

He says he and his colleagues wrestle every week with how to treat children who have antibiotic-resistant infections.

"It's sort of the perfect storm," said Dr. Harrison. "We have many more people traveling many more places and we have more people using antibiotics. These little pockets of resistant bacteria that used to maybe die off in one little pocket of the world, don't die off, they travel around the world and as one person said, they spread as fast as jets."

He said we are not seeing as many antibiotics come on the market, so the treatments are not keeping up.

Besides MRSA, strains of gonorrhea, e-coli and c-diff, are now often resistant to antibiotic treatment. There is also one strain of tuberculosis that is untreatable now.

What can parents and patients do to protect their kids and themselves from antibiotic resistant diseases and infections?  Follow your doctor's instructions about antibiotics and don't insist that antibiotics be prescribed.

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