WWBInsight2019
WWB INSIGHT

WWB Insight: Meet Our Frankenstein–The SuperBug Infection We Created and Now Can’t Control…

If there isn’t enough to be worried about in the world, we now are being attacked by a superbug! Meet C. auris. C stands for candida and this fungas infection is our very own ‘Frankenstein’ because it has taken on a life of its own. C.auris is not just any fungal infection, but a fungal infection resistant to drugs, making it fatal to people with compromised immune systems.  Candida grows as yeast, and symptoms include difficulty in swallowing, burning genital itching, and sometimes a cheese like discharge that looks white, according to the CDC.

You may be seeing the headlines this week across the media and it seems to be getting more serious as the week goes on. The CDC ( center of disease control) has gone on record to say it’s a global threat.  Just in my New Jersey state alone, there has been 101 confirmed cases and 22 probable cases. It may not sound like a lot but it is extremely worrisome to all medical authorities.

I will share links throughout so you can deep dive into the medical science but I also wanted to give some context, so we can think about how our ‘lifestyle’ and ‘culture’ has created very serious deadly health challenges. We have to connect the dots and make the connections or we will end up killing ourselves. There are a lot of questions and the only way to get to the answers is to take a 30, 000 foot view and then go deep into the trenches to understand why this is happening. We need context! Here we go…

What is C. Auris?

Candida auris is a species of fungus first described in 2009, which grows as yeast. It is one of the few species of the genus Candida which cause candidiasis in humans. Often, candidiasis is acquired in hospitals by patients with weakened immune systems.
Scientific nameCandida auris
RankSpecies
KingdomFungi

Why is CDC concerned about C. auris infections?

CDC is concerned about C. auris for three main reasons:

  1. It is often multidrug-resistant, meaning that it is resistant to multiple anti-fungal drugs commonly used to treat Candida infections.
  2. It is difficult to identify with standard laboratory methods, and it can be misidentified in labs without specific technology. Misidentification may lead to inappropriate management.
  3. It has caused outbreaks in healthcare settings. For this reason, it is important to quickly identify C. auris in a hospitalized patient so that healthcare facilities can take special precautions to stop its spread.

You can visit this page at CDC for all the basic information you need to understand about the fungal infection. So you don’t worry too much, here are quick tips to avoid contracting the disease which is of gravest concern in hospital settings.

HOW TO PREVENT C. auris

  • One of the best ways to prevent the spread of dangerous germs like C. auris in healthcare settings is good hand hygiene. Washing hands frequently can help prevent its spread.
  • Early and accurate identification, rigorous infection control practices, and communication between facilities are key to reducing the spread in healthcare settings.
  • Proper infection control involves consistent hand-washing, use of personal protective equipment and cleaning and disinfection of medical equipment and the healthcare environment.
  • When patients are transferred to other healthcare facilities, the receiving facilities should be notified of C. auris infection and the level of precautions recommended.

For those who would rather listen than read, here is video that describes the surprising reasons bacteria is rebelling and has become our Frankenstein. They’re turning the tide against antibiotics by outsmarting our wonder drugs. Listen and learn…

 

How did we create ‘Frankenstein’ Fungal Bacterial Infections?

The New York Times article ‘A Mysterious Infection, Spanning the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy’ takes a deep dive into the subject and connects some of the dots. Here is an important excerpt to read from this article.

Dr. Meis, the Dutch researcher, said he believed that drug-resistant fungi were developing thanks to heavy use of fungicides on crops. Dr. Meis became intrigued by resistant fungi when he heard about the case of a 63-year-old patient in the Netherlands who died in 2005 from a fungus called Aspergillus. It proved resistant to a front-line antifungal treatment called itraconazole. That drug is a virtual copy of the azole pesticides that are used to dust crops the world over and account for more than one-third of all fungicide sales.

A 2013 paper in Plos Pathogens said that it appeared to be no coincidence that drug-resistant Aspergillus was showing up in the environment where the azole fungicides were used. The fungus appeared in 12 percent of Dutch soil samples, for example, but also in “flower beds, compost, leaves, plant seeds, soil samples of tea gardens, paddy fields, hospital surroundings, and aerial samples of hospitals.” Dr. Meis visited the C.D.C. last summer to share research and theorize that the same thing is happening with C. auris, which is also found in the soil: Azoles have created an environment so hostile that the fungi are evolving, with resistant strains surviving.

This is similar to concerns that resistant bacteria are growing because of excessive use of antibiotics in livestock for health and growth promotion. As with antibiotics in farm animals, azoles are used widely on crops. “On everything — potatoes, beans, wheat, anything you can think of, tomatoes, onions,” said Dr. Rhodes, the infectious disease specialist who worked on the London outbreak. “We are driving this with the use of antifungicides on crops.” NYT Excerpt

Does this at all sound familiar? I recently sent an opinion piece (over a month ago) to the New York Times entitled ‘Worshiping a White Coat is Dangerous Too.” It was not published but I will release it soon to create more conversation. Interesting enough there has been a number of good articles since on the overuse of antibiotics in the New York Times. Here is one entitled ‘Older Americans Are Awash in Antibiotics’. This is our reality today.

In my opinion piece (see below) I was outlining how dangerous ‘systematization’ can be when it comes to medical treatments for the masses. The obvious fact is each of us are bio-individuals and this makes treating disease and conditions complicated. One treatment does not treat all.

“Another area of faulty medicine is the overuse of antibiotics. Doctors prescribed antibiotics like aspirin for the last thirty years, and we wonder why we have a society full of ‘gut microbiome’ problems today. I am sure they wanted to help their suffering patients, but the systematization of routinely prescribing antibiotics created an even sicker culture.” ~Laura Connolly

I don’t need to read any article to know that infections and the improper treatment of them have proliferated in the last forty years, because I lived in the culture and have watched conditions like sinus infections, and conditions effecting the stomach and gut batter our population. You have too. It has become the norm. To give this conversation context, we have to acknowledge that these infections and conditions became commonplace, and we didn’t stop to make the connections because the pharma world was promising us the ‘fix’. Antibiotics are a fix we overused and just got used to. When we had a cold virus we asked doctors for antibiotics (meant for bacterial infections) and unfortunately doctors wrote the scripts. This is just one area of how we created our ‘Frankestein’. Western medicine and healthcare is based on a approach and philosophy of fixing or treating the symptom. While we were busy fixing things, we weren’t connecting the dots about why so many of us were getting sick with bacterial infections and painful auto-immune conditions. What were the causes? How is it that so many are suffering with conditions that cause systemic inflammation in the body?

The developing theory on the overuse of pesticides (see NYT excerpt highlighted text box above) on crops is just one of many reasons superbugs are becoming resistant to antibiotic treatments. Our poor diets comprised of food filled with chemicals and too much sugar ( candida loves sugar!) is another, while the personal products we use on a daily basis have become hormone disrupters and cancer causing agents. Couple all these things with our stressful lifestyle which in turn releases harmful chemicals in our bodies, we have created a very unhealthy eco-system for our bodies to manage. Our immune systems are weakening and we can’t keep up. In a word, our bodies have been overtaxed.

Now for the really bad news, this nasty onslaught on our bodies is really no different than how we are treating our home planet earth. It’s all connected my friends. So, who is Frankenstein but perhaps an ugly reflection of ourselves. Worshiping the dollar and industry over the health and well-being of our people is just not a pretty picture, and can’t possibly be a sustainable value system to go forward with anymore. Whether the superbug gets us all,  or our planet becomes the ultimate Frankenstein and says “That’s It, Game Over’, we are headed in a very bad direction where survival won’t just be about how much taxes we pay, but whether we literally survive as a species.

I’m far from gloomy (no really) and forever hopeful that we will begin to support and build a wellness culture based on one simple value. Health and wellness is absolutely unequivocally a necessity for people and the planet to live, thrive and survive. We have to look at our culture, our values, and our mindset to understand how we got here. We can’t go on ignoring the industries we have supported in the name of our 401K and allow them to sicken our society further. If the greatest wealth is health, our society is extremely poor. Blaming and demonizing any one industry for our health problems is not the answer. It’s everything in a culture devoid of valuing wellness. We need to step back and look at our own complicity in allowing all of this to happen. These things don’t ‘just happen’. They have been building and we have been ignoring. The lyrics in a Katie Perry song ‘Chained to the Rhythm’ is culturally relevant and spot on.

So comfortable, we’re livin’ in a bubble, bubble
So comfortable, we cannot see the trouble, trouble

Sure, I will shamelessly use a pop song if it drives home the importance of getting conscious and waking up.  I’ve shared a few links to help you connect the dots and hope you read the many Q&A’s I conduct with experts and visionaries in wellness culture here at World Wise Beauty, as they are always sharing inspiration, wisdom, and tools to help you cultivate wellness wisdom and live life well. Each of us can do this, but we can’t do it without being informed, and we can’t do it with rose colored glasses on, and we definitely can’t live well if  we don’t live in a healthy culture on a healthy planet. Bottom line. This is far more important than the bottom line of a quarterly report. It’s our lives we are talking about here and the future of our children. To punctuate my point and to bring us back to C. auris superbug, I will end this with a sobering takeaway excerpt from the aforementioned NYT article .

“Scientists say that unless more effective new medicines are developed and unnecessary use of antimicrobial drugs is sharply curbed, risk will spread to healthier populations. A study the British government funded projects that if policies are not put in place to slow the rise of drug resistance, 10 million people could die worldwide of all such infections in 2050, eclipsing the eight million expected to die that year from cancer. ” NYT Excerpt

 

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Laura Connolly, Aka Lauroly, Founder of World Wise Beauty

 

 

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