Are we creating monsters in real life? I think so. However, we seem to be fairly oblivious to the fact that they are out there and becoming more dangerous.
Last week we discussed the dramatically higher incidence of VRE in Sweden. Today there is a report out from the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) about a new strain of E. coli they are describing as the next superbug. This new stain is ST131, and has been identified as the cause of 67-69% of all E. coli hospitalizations. The article states that with the acquisition of one more resistance gene ST131 will become essentially untreatable.
What is even scarier is how they describe this new strain:
In the past, highly virulent E. coli strains usually have been susceptible to antibiotics, while highly resistant strains have been fairly weak in terms of their ability to cause disease. The susceptible strains were easily treated even though they caused serious infections, while the resistant ones tended mostly to affect only weakened or vulnerable individuals. Now, the study’s findings suggest, the ST131 strain has appeared with a high level of virulence and antimicrobial resistance.
They also do not know the source of ST131, so are having a hard time stopping the spread of this organism.
We need to realize that these very real monsters are going to become much more scary in the near future than any of the fictional vampires or werewolves we appear to be obsessed with.