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City club of Eugene: New Superbugs Health Threat: The Scary Six

Recorded On: September 15, 2017

Air Date: September 18, 2017

Dr. Patrick Luedtke M.D., M.P.H., Senior Public Health Officer for the Lane County Department of Public Health discussed what antimicrobial resistance is, how it occurs, how many people are impacted by it, what public health in Lane County is doing to fight it, and what you can do to protect yourself.

Physicians in Lane County are seeing superbugs with resistance to not only common, first line antibiotics, but also some of the more expensive antibiotics used in serious infections. Currently, some microbes are killed by only one of two exotic antibiotics. Some of these have serious side effects. Things have changed drastically since the 1930s, when penicillin, sulfa drugs, and other antibiotics helped us fight bacterial illness.

Nationally, in one ICU in a single year, 34 patients became infected with resistant Klebsiella bacteria, and nearly half died. In another case in 2003, linemen from the St. Louis Rams football team suffered a devastating outbreak of MRSA, transmitted through shared equipment and abrasions from Astroturf. One doctor has given them the acronym, ESKAPE bacteria: Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumonia, Acinetobacter baumanni, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and the Enterobacter species. Will we return to the 1930s, when pneumonia was a common death sentence? Or can we address the problem of these superbugs?


Dr. Patrick Luedtke, Senior Public Health Officer, Lane County Department of Public Health, Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Health & Human Services

Jason Davis, Public Information Officer, Lane County Health and Human Services

Love Cross joined KLCC in 2017. She began her public radio career as a graduate student, serving as Morning Edition Host for Boise State Public Radio in the late 1990s. She earned her undergraduate degree in Rhetoric and Communication from University of California at Davis, and her Master’s Degree from Boise State University. In addition to her work in public radio, Love teaches college-level courses in Communication and Sociology.