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 Bacteria, Superbugs, And Viruses….Oh My!

 Bacteria, Superbugs, And Viruses….Oh My!  What does the research say about them? What can we do for prevention?  This is an extension to my blog I wrote in December 2018

The word germ is a general term used to describe bacteria, viruses, protozoa, or fungi. Germs can live anywhere from surfaces we touch, our air, our water, on plants, animals, and in us. The Mayo Clinic described these germs for us.

  • Bacteria. These one-cell organisms are responsible for illnesses such as strep throat, urinary tract infections and tuberculosis.
  • Viruses. Even smaller than bacteria, viruses cause a multitude of diseases ranging from the common cold to AIDS.
  • Fungi. Many skin diseases, such as ringworm and athlete’s foot, are caused by fungi. Other types of fungi can infect your lungs or nervous system.
  • Parasites. Malaria is caused by a tiny parasite that is transmitted by a mosquito bite. Other parasites may be transmitted to humans from animal feces.

Transmission can be done directly or indirectly. Directly is from person to person or by insects or other animals. Indirectly transmission is by contaminated food or water or being exposed to organisms in the environment.

“Bacterial and viral infections can cause similar symptoms such as coughing and sneezing, fever, inflammation, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and cramping — all of which are ways the immune system tries to rid the body of infectious organisms. But bacterial and viral infections are dissimilar in many other important respects, most of them due to the organisms’ structural differences and the way they respond to medications”.


Here is a list of bacterial infections: cholera, pneumonia, influenza, tuberculous, MRSA, measles, typhoid, malaria, legionnaire’s disease, anthrax, meningitis, dysentery. This link will further your knowledge of each bacterial infection. Link:

The World Health Organization (WHO) stated the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threatens the prevention and treatment of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses, and fungi. AMR drives the cost of health care up from extended hospital stay, more tests, and expensive drugs. In 2016, an estimated 490,000 developed anti-resistant Tuberculous (TB) worldwide. Also, resistance is causing problems with HIV and malaria treatments. AMR genetics usually change slowly over time. However, this process is getting faster due to the misuse and overuse of antibiotics by people and animals. They can spread rapidly between people and animals, food from animals, and people to people as well. The AMR can change when introduced to antimicrobial drugs which is why we refer to them as superbugs. Super smart and that makes them more dangerous.


The WHO has identified 12  superbugs (critical, high, and medium threat) and listed them in order of their drug resistance, number of deaths, frequency of infection, and burden on the health care system. Critical superbugs are resistant to carbapenem antibiotics used to fight severe bacterial infections. Anti-resistant infections deaths can reach 10 million a year. If these superbugs cannot be controlled by antibiotics all surgeries of any kind and chemotherapies will not take place.

Critical category of bacterial superbugs: only a very brief description.

1) Acinetobacter baumannii is found in hospital-acquired infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia, meningitis, urinary tract infection, bloodstream infection, and wound infection in severely injured soldiers.

2) Pseudomonas aeruginosa is found in hospital-acquired infections, especially in critically ill and immunocompromised patients. It can cause a skin rash, ear infections, severe blood infection, and pneumonia. Found in the environment in soil and water.  In 2017, estimated 32,600 infections among hospitalized patients and 2,700 estimated deaths in the United States.

3) Enterobacteriaceae is found in the gut, infections can include bacteremia (bacteria in the bloodstream and can lead to septic shock), lower respiratory tract infections, skin and soft-tissue infections, urinary tract infections, endocarditis, intra-abdominal infections, septic arthritis, osteomyelitis, CNS infections, and ophthalmic infections. Resistant to carbapenem and cephalosporins antibiotics. Examples of germs in the Enterobacteriaceae family include Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Klebsiella pneumonia.

Next five superbugs are in the high threat category:

4) Enterococcus faecium– resistant to vancomycin. This bacteria is typically found in gut or bowel for healthy individuals is not a problem but if it spreads can create an infection. Part of the Streptococcus family. Weakened immune systems are at greater risk. Infections are bacteremia, pelvic, urinary tract, oral, blood poisoning, endocarditis, and meningitis.

5) Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) Methicillin-resistant and vancomycin-resistant, (MRSA) This superbug belongs to the group of staph bacteria. According to the Mayo Clinic, this type of bacteria causes pneumonia, urinary tract, and skin infections. People who had operative procedures, low immune systems, and the elderly in nursing homes obtain this bacterium. Increased risk of hosting this superbug is by using or misusing antibiotics, poor infection or control practices, living or working in unsanitary conditions, and mishandling food. MRSA and Clostridium difficile are very hard to treat because they have an extra outer membrane that protects them from anti-bacterial drugs (see how smart, OMG). 33% of people carry this bacterium in the lining of their nose but it doesn’t cause infection, and only 2% are carriers. Staph is transmitted by hands that have encountered the person, items, or contaminated surfaces with body fluids with MRSA.

6) Helicobacter pylori  Using get in childhood and are the cause of peptic ulcers., present in more than half the people in the world.

7) Campylobacter spp is fluoroquinolone-resistant. It affects 1.5 million people, causes diarrhea in travelers returning to the United States,  identified with  Guillan-Barré syndrome, and carried by some pets.

8) Salmonellae is fluoroquinolone-resistant. It causes about 1.35 million infections, 26,500 hospitalizations, and 420 deaths in the United States every year. This is more common, with symptoms of diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. Food is the source of most of these illnesses. It can last up to 6 days without treatment. Severe cases will need hospitalization, (a good reason to stay hydrated).

9) Neisseria gonorrhea is cephalosporin and fluoroquinolone-resistant.  This bacteria was known for its transmission from war. It affects the male and female reproductive areas and mouth. It can also affect unborn babies’ eyes.

I will skip over the medium treat category of bacteria to discuss viruses.


Mayo Clinic describes a virus as a capsule that contains genetic material that needs a host cell to live and multiply, destroying that cell in the process. To name a few of the most known virus-producing diseases would include HIV-AIDS, common cold, measles, chickenpox/shingles, influenza, genital herpes, and ebola hemorrhagic fever. Let’s not forget the SAR and COVID family. The tricky part is that an antibiotic made for a bacterium will not extinguish a virus. If an invader (pathogen) enters your body the immune system will fight this infection by producing cold symptoms like fever, coughing, and sneezing. If left untreated and your body suffers cell damage, it can develop into a disease state with longer sickness symptoms.

According to Live Science, there are 12 deadly viruses.     I will list them here and give you a short description, plus I added a few more.

Marburg Virus

Marburg virus in 1967 infected by monkeys imported from Uganda. Marburg virus is similar to Ebola in that both can cause hemorrhagic fever, meaning that infected people develop high fevers and bleeding throughout the body that can lead to shock, organ failure, and death. Deaths from the first outbreak were 25%, and 80% in the 1998-2000 outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as in the 2005 outbreak in Angola, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The reservoir host of the Marburg virus is the African fruit bat, Rousettus aegyptiacus. Fruit bats infected with Marburg virus do not show obvious signs of illness. Primates (including humans) can become infected with Marburg virus, and may develop serious disease with high mortality.


Ebola in humans struck both the Republic of Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976. Ebola is spread through contact with blood or other body fluids, or tissue from infected people or animals. The are several strains with different effectiveness. According to WHO, the Bundibugyo strain, the fatality rate is up to 50%, and it is up to 71% for the Sudan strain. The outbreak underway in West Africa began in early 2014 and is the largest and most complex outbreak of the disease to date.


Rabies vaccines for pets were made in the 1920s, but this condition remains a serious problem in India and parts of Africa. Rabies destroys the brain and is treated with vaccine and antibodies. If not treated, there’s is a 100% chance of death. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system. If a person does not get help, the virus can cause disease in the brain, ultimately resulting in death. Rabies can be prevented by vaccinating pets, staying away from wildlife, and seeking medical care after potential exposures before symptoms start.

Human Immunodeficiency Viruses (HIV)

HIV are two species of Lentivirus that infect humans. Over time, they cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).  An estimated 32 million people have died from this disease. 95% of new HIV infections occur in low- and middle-income countries. Nearly 1 in every 25 adults within the African region is HIV-positive, accounting for more than two-thirds of the people living with HIV worldwide.


In 1980, the World Health Assembly declared the world free of smallpox. But before that, humans battled smallpox for thousands of years, and the disease killed about 1 in 3 of those it infected. It left survivors with deep, permanent scars and, often, blindness.  Historians estimate 90% of the native population of the Americas died from smallpox introduced by European explorers. In the 20th century alone, smallpox killed 300 million people.

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS)

First seen in the U.S. in 1993. More than 600 people in the U.S. have now contracted HPS, and 36% have died from the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus is not transmitted from one person to another, rather, people contract the disease from exposure to the droppings of infected mice. Previously, a different hantavirus caused an outbreak in the early 1950s, during the Korean War, according to a 2010 paper in the journal Clinical Microbiology Reviews. More than 3,000 troops became infected, and about 12% of them died. While the virus was new to Western medicine when it was discovered in the U.S., researchers realized later that Navajo medical traditions describe a similar illness, and linked the disease to mice.


During a typical flu season, up to 500,000 people worldwide will die from the illness, according to WHO. But occasionally, when a new flu strain emerges, a pandemic results with a faster spread of disease and, often, higher mortality rates. The most deadly flu pandemic, Spanish flu that began in 1918 and sickened up to 40% of the world’s population, killing an estimated 50 million people. Go to this site to see symptoms and prevention


Dengue virus first appeared in the 1950s in the Philippines and Thailand and has since spread throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the globe. Up to 40% of the world’s population now lives in areas where dengue is endemic, and the disease — with the mosquitoes that carry it — is likely to spread farther as the world warms. Dengue sickens 50 to 100 million people a year, according to WHO.


Two vaccines are now available to protect children from rotavirus, the leading cause of severe diarrheal illness among babies and young children. The virus can spread rapidly, through what researchers call the fecal-oral route (meaning that small particles of feces end up being consumed). Although children in the developed world rarely die from rotavirus infection, the disease is a killer in the developing world, where rehydration treatments are not widely available. The WHO estimates that worldwide, 453,000 children younger than age 5 died from rotavirus infection in 2008. But countries that have introduced the vaccine have reported sharp declines in rotavirus hospitalizations and deaths. People with blood types A and AB are more susceptible to rotavirus infections, and more studies are underway.


The virus that causes the severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, first appeared in 2002  in the Guangdong province of southern China, according to the WHO. The virus likely emerged in bats, initially, then hopped into nocturnal mammals called civets before finally infecting humans. By 2003, SARS spread to 26 countries around the world, infecting more than 8000 people and killing more than 770 over two years. The disease causes fever about 100, chills and body aches. After 2-7 days a dry cough will develop, and often progresses to pneumonia,. This is a severe condition in which the lungs become inflamed and fill with pus. SARS has an estimated mortality rate of 9.6%, and as of yet, has no approved treatment or vaccine. However, no new cases of SARS have been reported since the early 2000s, according to the CDC. SARS can be transmitted from person to person by coughing or sneezing or being in close contact with an infected person. Close contact means to physically touch them, kissing or hugging, sharing eating and drinking utensils, and talking within three feet distance.


COVID- 19 belongs to the same large family of viruses as SARS-CoV, known as coronaviruses, MERS, and was first identified in December 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The virus likely originated in bats, like SARS-CoV, and passed through an intermediate animal before infecting people. Since its appearance, the virus has infected tens of thousands of people in China and thousands of others worldwide. The ongoing outbreak prompted an extensive quarantine of Wuhan and nearby cities, restrictions on travel to and from affected countries, and a worldwide effort to develop diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines. The disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, called COVID-19, has an estimated mortality rate of about 2.3%. People who are older or have underlying health conditions seem to be most at risk of having severe disease or complications. Common symptoms include fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath, and the disease can progress to pneumonia in severe cases.

Protection from this virus from the CDC website includes washing for hands often for 20 seconds. Avoid people who are sick. Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Stay home if you have a fever. Call your healthcare provider if you feel you have been exposed before you go to the hospital. If someone in the house is sick, isolate them and wash down everything. Have over-the-counter medications available for treating fever and other symptoms. Have enough household items to be able to stay at home. More information can be found at


The virus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, sparked an outbreak in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and another in South Korea in 2015. The MERS virus belongs to the same family of viruses as SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 and likely originated in bats, as well. The disease infected camels before passing into humans and triggers fever, coughing, and shortness of breath in infected people. MERS often progresses to severe pneumonia and has an estimated mortality rate between 30% and 40%, making it the most lethal of the known coronaviruses that jumped from animals to people. As with SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, MERS has no approved treatments or vaccines.

Human Papillomavirus  (HPV)

HPV infection is a viral infection that commonly causes skin or mucous membrane growths (warts). There are more than 100 varieties of human papillomavirus (HPV). Some types of HPV infection cause warts, and some can cause different types of cancer. Most HPV infections don’t lead to cancer. But some types of genital HPV can cause cancer of the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina (cervix). Other types of cancers, including cancers of the anus, penis, vagina, vulva, and back of the throat (oropharyngeal), have been linked to HPV infection. These infections are often transmitted sexually or through skin-to-skin contact. Vaccines can help protect against the strains of HPV most likely to cause genital warts or cervical cancer.

Bacteria, Superbugs and Viruses….Oh My! Behavioral PREVENTION is the Key 

Medline Plus (gov research database) recommends the following prevention steps: good hygiene, clean and cover cuts, avoid touching other people wound or bandages, avoid using other people’s clothes, washcloths, and razors, wash all sheets and clothes in hot water with bleach and dry in a hot dryer. According to the National Institute of Health, more than 2 million are infected each year from superbug bacteria strains that account for 23,000 deaths. The most abundant area to find germs would be cell phones, computer keyboards, doorknobs, TV remotes, grocery carts, and escalator handrails. Remember to wash hands frequently and wipe down surfaces with disinfectant cloths.

Prevention keys are the same for bacteria or viruses.

  • Wash your hands.
  • Get vaccinated.
  • Stay home when ill.
  • Prepare food safely.
  • Practice safe sex.
  • Don’t share personal items.
  • Travel wisely.

More prevention tips can be seen in my blog   This is a fine balance because human beings are living organisms that carry multiple communities of microbes that help us survive. Our Immune system is an evolutionary system design to adjust or adapt to changes.

Special note on Mesothelioma.  We all know that chronic disease creates a weak immune system that is very vulnerable to viruses like COVID-19.  Mesothelioma Justice Network is dedicated to improving the overall quality of life for individuals diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases. Mesothelioma patients are an especially at-risk group for serious complications from COVID-19 due to similar symptoms and the weakened lungs and immune system caused by a respiratory illness. It is our mission to raise awareness and reach those who may need our assistance. Would you help us in achieving our mission by including our resource –

Take Your Protection a Step further!  Go for natural protection with Essential Oils. 

GOOD NEWS for essential oil lovers! PubMed and Medline databases carry research articles from the department of the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, and National Institute of Health.  Several studies are being conducted with essential oils that may inhibit the growth of superbugs like MRSA and other drug-resistant bacteria. One study showed positive results for Thyme and Cinnamon antimicrobial properties against MRSA. Oregano and Pennyroyal mint enhances the activity of Amoxicillin. Melissa officinalis and Mentha x Piperita showed 100% effects on the amoeba acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) that affect the eyes of contact users. Another study tested tea tree oil against AK with excellent results. Studies are also being conducted testing the effects of essentials oil for their insecticide properties to use on plants instead of highly toxic chemicals.

If you have a viral infection, you can try turmeric and ginger powder, basil, coriander tea, fenugreek water, lemon, and honey. Dr. Axe recommends cinnamon, thyme, oregano, and tea tree as the best antibacterial oils. Dr. Axe also mentions patchouli, geranium, lavender, tea tree, and grapefruit seed extract for staph infections. I agree with his choices and like me, he does his research. I use Tea tree and Lemon in my liquid shower soap.

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Essential oils are an easy way to boost your immune system and can help defend against virus and other germs, check out the products here


To Your Health & Happiness!!

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