As most of the World’s population is on the edge of its seat waiting for the Star Wars premiere two weeks from now, scientists are concerned about a different threat. A special strain of bacteria, immune to antibiotics, is threatening to take over the country. Read on to find out about how the “Phantom Menace” superbug is on the rise.
- Enterobacteriaceae are primarily known for their ability to cause intestinal upset
- The superbug belongs to the same family as E. coli
- Enterobacterial infections are one of the two leading killers of children in developing countries
- The bacteria can cause infections in almost any part of the body
- Enterobacteriaceae can also, and will most likely lead to dysentery among other symptoms
Resistant to antibiotics and very difficult to treat, the carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriacae (CRE), are extremely deadly, with roughly 50% of those infected dying, according to CDC. Currently the bacteria is considered one of the most dangerous threats in the United States.
The “Phantom Menace” is a relatively recent bacterium, but that doesn’t make it any less dangerous, but on the contrary. The superbug carries with it a plasmid, which is a mobile piece of DNA, which allows it to use an enzyme to break down almost any antibiotic. What makes it even more dangerous is its ability to pass on this immunity to other bacteria in the infected person’s system.
The superbug’s name was given due to the fact that even though it’s so dangerous, it is less frequent than other, less deadly bacteria of its kind, and is slightly less resistant to antibiotics than its other bacterial cousins.
Officials report that if the bacteria were to spread out of control, it could wipe out the world’s population quite rapidly, since it renders all bacteria in the host’s body, including itself, immune to antibiotics.
However, health specialists warn against panicking in regards to the Phantom Menace (unless you’re talking about the movie, of course), since microbiologists, public health officials, and infectious disease experts are on the watch, and will not hesitate to warn everyone in case of an emergency situation.
Hopefully, this will not turn into a Captain Trips situation (read your Stephen King, people), nor will it end as badly as its cinematic namesake, producing two sequels and groans from people all over the world.
So, as specialists in the field recommend, stay safe, stay healthy, and the only Star Wars you have to worry about is JJ Abrams’ new movie.