Definition of Superbug

Superbug: : An informal term for a bacterium that has become resistant to antibiotics that usually are used to treat it, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or any multidrug-resistant bacterium.

The following types of bacteria have all been described antibiotic-resistant threats to patients in healthcare settings or have been referred to in the media as "superbugs":

  • Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE)
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae (extended-spectrum β-lactamases)
  • Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE)
  • Multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter
  • E.coli H30-Rx: The H30-Rx strain of antibiotic-resistant E. coli bacteria has become a main cause of bacterial infections in women and the elderly worldwide over the past decade.

REFERENCE: Rakel RE, Rakel D. "Textbook of Family Medicine." 9th edition. 2015 Saunders.


Last Editorial Review: 6/8/2016

Search MedTerms:


Back to MedTerms online medical dictionary A-Z List
Pill Identifier Tool

Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill finder tool on RxList.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors