Antibiotic resistance of pathogenic bacteria

Preel (2009) states that, antibiotic resistance is spreading not only in Europe, but all over the world. One of the major factors that have resulted to this is the excessive use of these drugs. Ambile-Cuevas (2007) states that, antibiotic resistance has brought with it adverse financial as well as medical effects to human being. Hyper-resistant bacteria have emerged greatly endangering the pillars of global health. Some of these bacteria have become resistance to all forms of modern treatment forcing physicians to prescribe older medications that are toxic. Doctors have also decided to use medications they only read about on paper. This situation is particularly grave in southern Europe where consumption of antibiotics is greater than other places. Research, according to Preel (2009), has revealed that more than half of the doctors in this region had treated at least one patient infected with an almost or completely antibiotic resistant bacterium.

Antibiotic resistance as a problem
Overuse of antibiotics has resulted in the emergence of bacteria immune to a wide range of drugs of 20th century (Anon, n.d.).  If the current situation continues it will be completely impossible to carry out some of the most important medical operations. Lack of effective antibiotics is a very serious problem when it comes to operations such as intensive care and transplants. Various health services including premature children, cancer departments, as well as reanimation services that heavily rely on antibiotics will be among the most affected. This will lead to breakdown of the pillars of health system that depend on antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance results in the death of very many patients. Inappropriate administration of antibiotics is particularly a great health danger when it leads to the death of people who have never been to hospital in their life. People are regularly dying as a result of complications of common antibiotics resistant strains such as E.coli, golden staph, and Mycobacterium tuberculous. Resistant antibiotics also bring about financial breakdown of not only individuals, but also hospitals and the nation. The scourge if left unchecked will spread to other parts of the world leading to development of a global tragedy. DIANE Publishing Company (2004), states that poor counties will be the worst hit by this disaster, because in these countries antibiotics circulate more freely and are available even without prescription. Antibiotic resistance leads to increased bacterial infection. E.coli in particular is the most common antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Emergence of resistant bacteria, as a result of irresponsible antibiotic administration, is the greatest medical fraternity nightmare. Resistant strains of bacteria such as staphylococcus aureus spread in the community very fast and are very dangerous they cause diseases that are more severe as compared to other type of bacteria found on hospital wards. Resistant strains have the capacity of affecting both young and old healthy people.

Getting rid of human antibiotics is not the ultimate solution to this problem, because they are extensively used in livestock, dairy, and poultry farming for animal husbandry and fattening purposes. Traces of antibiotics are then excreted in urine and dung and deposited on the ground.

How people have contributed to emergence of resistant bacteria.
Uncontrolled use of antibiotics allover the world has caused this problem. In developing nations people can obtain last-line antibiotics over the counter. Excessive use of antibiotics, leading to emergence of antibiotic resistant strains, is bringing to an end an era where illnesses, caused by bacteria that lead to death, were easily cured. Irresponsible administration of antibiotics is particularly the major factors that have led to emergence of resistant strains. These drugs are mostly thrown at any from of illness, starting from the slightest cough to the most serious infection. Antibiotics have also been extensively used in agriculture by farmers in order to rear healthy animals. A study by the University of Pittsburgh School of medicine, as indicated by Hansen (2008), revealed that bacteria obtained from most of the chickens brought in to different supermarkets carried the enzyme that made them resistant to antibiotics.

To support the fact that what goes in comes out, a study was carried out in Queensland and it was discovered that a significant amount of antibiotics was present downstream (Fisher, 2008). Traces of antibiotics were coming from sewage released into the Brisbane River. These antibiotics, it was concluded, contributed to development of resistant bacterial strains of bacterial that were initially ecologically beneficial. Natural bacterial flora was adversely affected by these antibiotics. Toxicologists, according to Warren (1998), have issued a warning saying that such excesses will result in reservoirs of bacteria that are resistant overwhelming the environment

Doctors argue that visit to developing nations is one of the possible factors for rapid emergence of antibiotic resistant E.coli amongst people who have previously not had any contact with hospital system. Excessive use of antibiotics in hospitals has also resulted in the emergence of antibiotic resistant strains (Sciandra, 2005). Infections resulting from these strains have plagued patients for years. Failure to properly wash and cook food, according to (Hansen, 2008) is the other factor that has led to multiplication of resistant strains. These foods act as a source of contamination
Mechanism through which bacteria acquire resistance to antibiotics

Bacteria just like other organisms have got defense and attack mechanisms. Some bacteria, according to Knobler (2003), produce toxins and kill other bacteria. To respond to this other bacteria produce enzymes that neutralizes these toxins. The same mechanism is being used to develop antibiotic resistance. Bacterial species develop mechanisms that are aimed at defying drugs that cure dangerous diseases. Antibiotic-resistant genes have the ability of being carried on mobile pieces of DNA (Fisher, 2008). This allows them to be carried on from one bacterium to the other.

Bacteria that are a real problem clinically
Infections, such as multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, resulting from these strains have lead to the death of very many people. Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis is a difficult illness to treat. It requires costly oral as well as intravenous treatment with last line drugs. It finally reaches a stage where this disease cannot be treated. The community version of resistant golden staph, which emerged in the late 1990s, is the other killer (Hansen, 2008). It is also referred to as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Infection with this strain, according to Hansen (2008), results in the death of about 2,000 compromised patients annually. This community version has a flesh-eating toxin and is more dangerous than the hospital version. The current well known germ to cause infection in human beings, which have become resistant to antibiotics outside health facilities, is the gram negative E.coli. This germ can defy almost all forms of antibiotics. E.coli, as asserted by Knobler (2003), produces the enzyme beta lactamase which physically destroys antibiotics.

Measures and research are being done to overcome antibiotic resistance
Development of penicillin as well as other antibiotics is one of the major advancement in medicine in the 20th century (Anon, n.d.). These drugs acted as a medical miracle preventing the death of very many people. Overuse of antibiotics is however, bringing the advantages associated with that development to an abrupt end. Excessive use of penicillin according to Fisher (2008) leads to development of multi-drug resistant bacterial strains. Infections resulting from resistant bacterial strains have very devastating psychological effects. People suffering from these infections are often withdrawn, because others think they are going to be contaminated. Infection can also be easily passed on from one person to another.

One big problem in this issue is that there is no major investment in future antibiotics. Pharmaceutical industries are doing very little if any to invest in the development of effective antibiotics. Pharmaceutical companies which are mostly profit oriented fail to invest in antibiotics because these drugs cure. Research reveals that only two promising antibiotic drugs are currently being developed. Companies invest in drugs that alleviate adverse symptoms brought about by other diseases such as diabetes and AIDS, because patients are bound to take these drugs or life (Hansen 2008).

Studies, as stated by Hansen (2008) have found out that certain antibiotics can have harmful ecological effects in low doses and also in conjunction with others. One of the straight forward measures that can be used to reduce cases of infection of animals with antibiotic resistant bacterial strains is preventing them from drinking from dams contaminated with dung. Proper maintenance of daily access tracks is the other measure that can be used to minimize infection with resistant strains. White et al (2005), states that developing better sewage retention ponds can also help reduce chance of infection with antibiotic resistant strains. Proper washing as well as cooking of foods is another measure that can be used to reduce chances of infection with resistant strains.

These articles are accurate and not just aimed at creating panic and hysteria. Emergence of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria is a human tragedy. These strains bring about infections that put the pillars of global health in danger. Resistant strains emerge due to excessive use of antibiotics. This overuse has resulted in the emergence of bacteria immune to a wide range of drugs of 20th century, referred to as the multi-drug resistant strains. The major problem resulting from antibiotic resistant strains is death due to various medical complications. These complications lead to financial depletion of both families and the nation. Overuse of antibiotics is not only harmful to human beings, but also to the environment.


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