A Pathogenic Storm: Should We Be Concerned?

December 15, 2022

An intensive study published in the Lancet Journal stated that bacterial infections are second to ischemic heart disease as the cause of death worldwide. The study looked at deaths from 33 common bacterial pathogens and linked them to 7.7 million deaths in 2019, the year before the SARS-CoV-2 virus took hold.

The following 5 of the 33 bacteria were responsible for half of those deaths: Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

As a result of the study, experts sounded the alarm, substantiating that a continued rise of bacterial infections may spawn a massive global health crisis. The authors urged for increased funding and advised against “unwarranted antibiotic use.”

That same year, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a global campaign urging governments to adopt a tool called AWaRe to reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), adverse events, and costs.

In a “too little, too late” scenario, a recent WHO report showed that in 2020, antibiotics overuse and/or misuse helped microbes become resistant to many treatments, and replacement therapies in the pipeline are minimal.

So, where does that leave us now? Are we at the precipice of a pathogenic storm? Unfortunately, the evidence is pointing toward yes.

The “unusually high concurrent spike” of RSV, Flu, and COVID-19 prompted city health officials last Friday to tell New York City residents to wear high-quality masks indoors and in crowded outdoor settings.

Britain’s Health Security Agency issued an alert on an unusual rise in Scarlet Fever (from Strep A) infection, likely due to the high amounts of circulating bacteria.

With the increase of viral, bacterial, and fungal pathogens in circulation, our first mitigation measure must be robust diagnostic testing to identify and correctly treat an infection quickly. A misdiagnosis can not only be costly but deadly.

If your clinical symptoms persist beyond what you expect with a common cold, it’s important to seek out a comprehensive panel that provides a complete diagnosis rather than one with a specific target.

Anecdotally, we hear about patients who, based on the symptoms, test for the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus and discover they have a bacterial infection. Simply testing for COVID-19 alone and receiving a negative result may lead to an individual unknowingly spreading a bacterial infection like Strep A and, if left untreated, could cause complications, such as kidney inflammation, scarlet fever, or rheumatic fever.

Flow Health offers a multiplexed real-time PCR assay to identify and detect 34 viruses, 12 types of bacteria, and 6 fungal microorganisms within a single swab sample. Results of our panel may be available within the day, compared to many traditional tests that can take up to 3 days or more.

Our panel has been customized to detect several bacterial microorganisms such as Haemophilus influenzae, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Legionella pneumophila, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureu, Streptococcus pneumoniae. Other Respiratory Panels on the market only test for a handful of pathogens which could lead to missing key causative and harmful agents that could be at the root of persistent symptoms.

For more information, contact cs@flowhealth.com.

For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.

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