Via The Globe and Mail: The rise of the urinary tract infection that’s nearly impossible to treat. Excerpt:
If you have ever felt like you’re passing razor blades instead of water, you know that urinary tract infections are a unique form of torture. Urinary tract infections, for the lucky ducks who have never had one, may affect the urethra, the bladder and the kidneys. Left untreated, they can lead to permanent kidney damage and sepsis, a life-threatening immune response to infection. Now imagine, if you dare, a UTI that could fight off the most potent antibiotics we have.
This horrifying thought became closer to reality in May, when a Philadelphia woman tested positive for a new superbug – a strain of E. coli resistant to a last-resort antibiotic called colistin. Fortunately, her UTI was not invincible to all antibiotics. But as the bacteria that cause UTIs continue to mutate, scientists fear the time will come when one of the most common infections in the body becomes all but untreatable.
That grim future may not be far off. Many UTIs are already resistant to one or more antibiotics, leaving women to cope with infections they can’t seem to shake.
Patricia, who declined to give her last name, has had five UTIs since Christmas. The 71-year-old Toronto resident has taken several different antibiotics to clear them up, including a penicillin that she says didn’t help. But they keep coming back. “It feels like it might be the same one again and again,” she said, adding, “it’s a worry.”
Patricia’s doctor, Sheila Wijayasinghe, confirmed that UTIs are getting tougher to treat. In bacterial cultures from patients with UTIs, “we do see resistant strains to our most commonly used antibiotics,” said Dr. Wijayasinghe, who practises family medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.