Bacterial Resistance.

Essay by pooh1974University, Bachelor'sB+, November 2003

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Bacterial Resistance

Some bacteria are getting tougher to kill. The usual treatments are not working as well or worst yet, not working at all. Such bacteria are said to be resistant. Bacterial resistance has become a worldwide problem that impacted the medical field. Bacterial resistance occurs when the bacteria becomes resistant to the individual antibiotic. This problem has become more prevalent in recent years. We are losing the battle on the increasing resistant bacteria, often referred to as Super Bugs, caused by mutated bacteria.

Normal and mutated bacteria can replicate at an astounding rate. Most antibiotics can destroy the normal bacteria, but leaves the mutated bacteria unharmed. Mutant bacteria's favorite breeding ground are in hospitals. This causes many patients to be stricken with these Super Bugs that are resistant to antibiotics. This leaves a painful and often fatal outcome for these patients. The mutated bacteria can also exchange it's DNA with other bacteria allowing more resistant bacterium to be formed.

"Bacteria is remarkably agile in developing and acquiring new ways to outsmart anti-microbial agents", said Robert C. Mollering, M.D., Chairman, Department of Medicine, New

England Deaconess Hospital in Boston.

There are many problems with the resistant bacteria and antibiotics that are available for treatment. Streptococcus pneumoniae has always been treated with the common used agent penicillin. The resistance now approaches 40%. There has also been reports that Cephalosporins , Staphylococcus , and non-beta-lactam have become classified as highly resistant strains. According to the British Society for Anti-microbial Chemotherapy and the American Heart Association, bacterial endocarditis has a mortality rate of 20 to 30 % and growing due to bacterial resistance. The bactericidal combination of penicillin and glycopeptides with an amino glycoside , that is usually gentamicin or streptomycin. Enterococci is acquiring a high level of resistance to these treatments.

The cause of bacterial resistance started with the overuse of antibiotics. The antibiotic drugs were given in large proportions for every kind of infection. When you are treated with antibiotics over a period of time, the bacteria in your body becomes resistant to that agent. According to the book Fighting Infection (Harry F. Dowling 142), there were strains of Staphyloccus aureus received from human infections that were resistant to penicillin found in 1942. This was due to the popularity of this drug. The experts, like the scientist at the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, agree that the over prescription and misuse of antibiotic drugs are the main causes of bacterial resistance. The CDC says that up to half of the roughly 100 million prescriptions for antibiotics are unnecessary. There are other possible causes of bacterial resistance. The

antibodies in animal feed. The Food and Drug Association reported that in 1995 alone an estimated 4.5 million pounds of antibodies were used in animal feed, to reduce the spread of disease and enhance growth of cattle , swine , and poultry. The FDA also mentions the use of antibacterial hand and body wash products in promoting bacteria resistance.

What can be done about this increasing threat of bacterial resistance? The FDA is now reviewing the practice of antibodies in animal feed to discover the total impact it has on human health. The FDA has determined that the use of the antibacterial hand and body wash has no significant health impact on humans. Pharmaceutical companies have started to create and test future antibiotics. The FDA has approved a new inject able medicine. Cubicin will be used to treat skin and soft tissue infections that are caused by Staphylococcus aureus . Although these measures are in the right direction, the need for alternative solutions is evident. The only solution at this time to slow down future resistant bacterium, is for the doctors to prescribe antibiotics carefully. Be sure that the patient has a medical problem that needs antibiotic treatment. Patients need to quit asking for medications when the doctor tells them that it is not necessary, some medical problems just have to run it's course. Patients have to start following the advice of their doctor and follow antibiotic dosage directions that are given to them. The CDC and other health organizations are developing guidelines for the use of antibiotics in hospitals, but unless these guidelines are enforced, it will be useless. Bacterial resistance has become the focus of many scientist in recent years and it will continue being monitored with extreme concern.