Maggots versus antibiotics in the fight against infection

Thursday, November 07, 2013 by: Lance Johnson
Tags: Maggot Debridement Therapy, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, infection treatments

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(NaturalNews) In the fight against infection, antibiotics have become the go to resource in the last 70 years.

The introduction of penicillin in the 1940s brought hope to the medical field for treatment of infections, but that hope quickly turned to false hope with the realization that bacteria are smarter and evolve much faster than antibiotics. Medical professionals today are warning that the antibiotic era is over, that scientists cannot keep up with the super strains of bacteria evolving today. The Centers for Disease Control openly admits this, and the World Health Organization warns that today's many infectious diseases are at high risk of becoming uncontrollable due to antibiotic resistance.

Over 150,000 people are dying each year, as approximately 440,000 new cases of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis emerge.

MRSA, the notorious, uncontrollable superbug

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is now a common problem in hospitals. Patients go into the hospital for help and come out instead with more problems - debilitating MRSA infections. Something as simple as giving birth can quickly turn into a years-long battle against a hospital-borne MRSA infection.

As antibiotics are continuously overprescribed, with over 190 million doses administered in hospitals alone each and every day, bacterial resistance continues to grow. Deadly infections are beginning to take hold. In the fight against infection in the 21st century, there is hope, and it may just come from something called maggots.

Maggots clean out the infection

Yes, maggots, the creepy, crawly, squirming larvae can heal infected wounds. These larvae have been, can be and are an amazing solution to infections. In WWI, it was noticed that wounded soldiers lying on the battlefield without medical aid got help from maggots naturally working in their infected wounds. These soldiers recovered faster and survived more often than medically treated soldiers.

In fact, Maggot Debridement Therapy (MDT) was used successfully before the invention of modern day antibiotics. This treatment aids the healing process of chronic wounds by introducing medicinal, sterile larvae into the infected area. These larvae are a specific kind of necrotic tissue-eating blowfly, Lucilia sericata. They are administered into the infected wound and secured with special dressings. Within a few days, the maggots eat out the necrotic tissue and bacteria, disinfect the area and stimulate new blood flow and tissue growth.

Antibiotics can't keep up with much smarter bacteria

Bacteria, which reproduce rapidly within a 20 minute period, are an ever changing, quickly evolving organism. As soon as penicillin was utilized in the 1940s, bacteria strains of Staphylococcus aureus had already evolved into something stronger.

Bacteria are smarter than antibiotics, developing genetic resistance through continuous mutation and selection. Today's most uncontrollable "superbug," MRSA, is ravaging hospitals everywhere. Antiobiotics like methicillin, vancomycin and erythromycin have not been able to control bacteria strains. Many patients are forced to lose limbs in the face of indestructible infections, as antibiotics can't keep up with the much smarter bacteria.

How maggots go in and get the job done

Infections don't have to be indestructible. They can be fought more effectively with maggots.
Maggots excrete specific enzymes that break down dead tissue yet preserve living tissue. Dead tissue is cleansed from the wound, along with the wicked bacteria that thrived there. This natural debridement process promotes new blood flow and tissue growth, accelerating healing. By altering interactions between fibroblasts and the extracellular matrix, this process welcomes healing. In short, the excretions of maggots possess stronger antimicrobial activity than any antibiotic, inhibiting biofilm formation or structured bacterial growth.

Maggot excretions strengthened through pre- exposure to specific bacteria strains

A study from Swansea University of the United Kingdom showed that the antimicrobial effects of maggot excretions against E. coli and S. aureus are boosted when larvae are pre-exposed to each specific pathogen. Though pre-exposure, the maggots' immune systems are enhanced, bolstering the effects of their secretions in human wounds.

This creative process of building maggot immune systems and utilizing their secretions in human wounds will be necessary going forward in the fight against infection.

Sources for this article include:

About the author:
Lance Johnson is a passionate researcher, learner, writer, and healer. Lance and his wife invite you to check out their line of clean and conscious body care products at

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