Superbugs: “The Greatest Threat To Human Health” According To The World Health Organization

Updated: Oct 31, 2018

If the word “superbug” doesn’t send chills down your spine, it should. These antibiotic-resistant bacteria are growing both in number and in strength.

Earlier this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a list of the 12 most serious superbugs humanity is now finding itself up against.

The WHO divided these 12 bacteria into three priority levels. Level one lists three critical superbugs, level two has six high-priority bacteria, and level three has three medium-priority superbugs.

The fact that there are no low-priority superbugs brings home the urgency of the WHO’s call to action: Develop antibiotics capable to stopping these bacteria—as soon as possible.

But obviously, there’s no good indication of how long that process might take. In the meantime, simple steps—such as enforcing hand hygiene compliance as part of your hospital’s infection prevention program—can play a role in decreasing the risk of spreading these superbugs.

As the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains, hand hygiene is an important part of infection prevention in healthcare.

A February 2017 report in  Fierce Healthcare will come as no surprise to infection control directors: “The bacteria considered the most critical pose a particular threat to hospitalized patients who may require blood catheters or ventilators.”

It’s another reason hand hygiene should be a high priority for senior managers of hospitals nationwide.

Here is a closer look at the top 3 superbugs—so-called “priority pathogens”—that the WHO says “pose the greatest threat to human health.”

While researchers scramble to develop antibiotics to combat these threats, hospitals and other healthcare organizations can do their part by enforcing consistent hand hygiene programs facility-wide.

Proper hand hygiene is ground zero for infection prevention. Learn more about our hand hygiene tool for healthcare facilities:

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