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Antibiotics: are we facing a crisis?

The word antibiotic comes from the Greek anti meaning “against” and bios meaning “life.” An antibiotic    is a chemical, produced either by microbes or synthetically, that is hostile to the growth of other organisms. Today’s news and media often address concerns about an antibiotic crisis. Are the antibiotics that easily treated bacterial infections in the past becoming obsolete? Are there new “superbugs”—bacteria that have evolved to become more resistant to our arsenal of antibiotics? Is this the beginning of the end of antibiotics? All these questions challenge the healthcare community.

One of the main causes of resistant bacteria is the abuse of antibiotics. The imprudent and excessive use of antibiotics has resulted in the natural selection of resistant forms of bacteria. The antibiotic kills most of the infecting bacteria, and therefore only the resistant forms remain. These resistant forms reproduce, resulting in an increase in the proportion of resistant forms over non-resistant ones. Another major misuse of antibiotics is in patients with colds or the flu, for which antibiotics are useless. Another problem is the excessive use of antibiotics in livestock. The routine use of antibiotics in animal feed promotes bacterial resistance as well. In the United States, 70 percent of the antibiotics produced are fed to animals. These antibiotics are given to livestock in low doses, which maximize the probability of resistance developing, and these resistant bacteria are readily transferred to humans.

Watch a recent news report on the problem of routine antibiotic administration to livestock and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

One of the superbugs: mrsa

The imprudent use of antibiotics has paved the way for bacteria to expand populations of resistant forms. For example, Staphylococcus aureu s, often called “staph,” is a common bacterium that can live in the human body and is usually easily treated with antibiotics. A very dangerous strain, however, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has made the news over the past few years ( [link] ). This strain is resistant to many commonly used antibiotics, including methicillin, amoxicillin, penicillin, and oxacillin. MRSA can cause infections of the skin, but it can also infect the bloodstream, lungs, urinary tract, or sites of injury. While MRSA infections are common among people in healthcare facilities, they have also appeared in healthy people who haven’t been hospitalized but who live or work in tight populations (like military personnel and prisoners). Researchers have expressed concern about the way this latter source of MRSA targets a much younger population than those residing in care facilities. The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that, among MRSA-afflicted persons in healthcare facilities, the average age is 68, whereas people with “community-associated MRSA” ( CA-MRSA    ) have an average age of 23. Naimi, TS, LeDell, KH, Como-Sabetti, K, et al. Comparison of community- and health care-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection. JAMA 290 (2003): 2976–84, doi: 10.1001/jama.290.22.2976 .

Questions & Answers

what do you guys understand about evolution?
Kiana Reply
it's a process or analayzing some program
Fahamia
but am not sure if some know plz let share
Fahamia
is a study of
Sarah
unfolding or unrolling hence the process of development of growth
Sarah
why are diagrams not available
Evans Reply
How can nucleotide molecules of DNA be constructed?construct a six molecules of DNA?
Julia Reply
describe the breathing mechanism in the body fish.
Jackson Reply
what is genetics.
Jackson
the study of hereditary
Julia
state the importance of biodiversity of organisms in an area?
Chris Reply
what is biology
Adam Reply
Biology is the study of living things.
Patrick
what are some of the branches of biology?
Jackson
anatomy,genetics,parasitology
Evans
what is meosis
Mabatho Reply
did you mean meiosis? meiosis this is the type of cell division where one diploid parent cell produces two daughter cells that are haploid and genetically different from the parent cell.
Patrick
thankyou
Mabatho
I'm struggling to understand genetics
Mabatho
Am also struggling as well
Patrick
nothing comes on a silver platter, you need to put effort in everything you are doing not forgetting God. study as if there is no tomorrow. "Suffer now and enjoy the future"
Patrick
true bro
Patrick
exactly brother
Odhiambo
Glory to God
Patrick
Thanks Pat🙏
Mabatho
you're welcome
Patrick
what's a nervous system
tessy Reply
what's the human brain
tessy
the structure of paramecium
Charity Reply
yes
Sarah
Ho
Nevers
what is endocytosis
Stephen Reply
what is the meaning of adrenocorticotropic
Abigail Reply
adrenocorticotropic is stimulating or acting on the adrenal cortex.
Belinda
ok thanks
Abigail
What is science of biology
Thando Reply
The study 📓 of leaving things
John
how does a parasite benefit from its mode of living?
Abuk Reply
why are the images n diagrams unable to be seen?
Abuk
where are the illustrations
Simon
a parasite gets protection, food, shelter
Anguson
human being
Jackson
what is Alimentary canal?
Princess Reply
what is commenialism
jamex Reply
Do you mean commensalism?,it is a feeding relationship that has to do with two different species feeding, that is one is benefiting and the other is unaffected.
hamidat
commensalism is a feeding relationship that has to do with different species feeding, one is gaining and the other is unaffected.
hamidat

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Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
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