Meet the Deadly Bacterium That’s on Everyone’s Skin

Meet the Deadly Bacterium That’s on Everyone’s Skin

If you’re going in for hip replacement surgery, you’ll want to know about this.

So, you’ve heard of antibiotic resistance. All those awful bugs out there are getting too smart. They’re outdoing us by finding a way to evade the antibiotics we use to treat them.

Now, there’s more bad news: there’s another one to fear, and it’s likely sitting right there on your skin.

Really? Yes.

As professor Sam Sheppard, lead researcher in a new study on the bacterium from the University of Bath, in England commented, “Staphlococcus epidermidis is a deadly pathogen in plain sight. It’s always been ignored clinically because it’s frequently been assumed that it was a contaminant in lab samples or it was simply accepted as a known risk of surgery.”

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S. epidermidis causes some people who have major surgery to suffer significantly or even die, when infection sets in. Sheppard feels the issue needs to be taken more seriously. Doctors, he says, should be identifying patients who have it on their skin. And if they’re awaiting surgery, such as a hip or knee replacement, extra hygiene precautions should be taken.

“If we do nothing to control this, there’s a risk that these disease-causing genes could spread more widely, meaning post-operative infections that are resistant to antibiotics could become even more common,” he warned.

Doomsday? Hard to say, but if you’re getting set to “go under the knife” it could be worth checking with your doctor to see if you’re a host.

In the UK, infections account for almost one third of all deaths. Thousands of Americans succumb to them each year.

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