Posts Tagged ‘antibiotics’

Antibiotics: Misuse puts you and others at risk

Antibiotics can be lifesavers, but misuse has increased the number of drug-resistant germs. See how this affects you and what you can do to help prevent antibiotic resistance.

By Mayo Clinic staff

If you think antibiotic resistance isn’t a problem or doesn’t affect you, think again. A prominent example of the dangers of antibiotic resistance is the spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA was once a concern only for people in the hospital, but a newer form of MRSA is causing infections in healthy people in the community.

Antibiotic resistance occurs when antibiotics no longer work against disease-causing bacteria. These infections are difficult to treat and can mean longer lasting illnesses, more doctor visits or extended hospital stays, and the need for more expensive and toxic medications. Some resistant infections can even cause death.

Although experts are working to develop new antibiotics and other treatments to keep pace with antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, infectious organisms can adapt quickly. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria will continue to be a global health concern — and using antibiotics wisely is important for preventing their spread.

When is it appropriate to use antibiotics?

Antibiotics are effective against bacterial infections, certain fungal infections and some kinds of parasites. Antibiotics don’t work against viruses. The chart shows common illnesses and whether they’re caused by bacteria or viruses. Taking an antibiotic when you have a viral infection won’t make you feel better — and can contribute to antibiotic resistance.

Bacterial infections Viral infections
  • Bladder infections
  • Many wound and skin infections, such as staph infections
  • Severe sinus infections that last longer than 2 weeks
  • Some ear infections
  • Strep throat
  • Bronchitis
  • Colds
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Most coughs
  • Most ear infections
  • Most sore throats
  • Stomach flu (viral gastroenteritis)

Consequences of antibiotic misuse

If antibiotics are used too often for things they can’t treat — like colds, flu or other viral infections — not only are they of no benefit, they become less effective against the bacteria they’re intended to treat.

Not taking antibiotics exactly as prescribed also leads to problems. For example, if you take an antibiotic for only a few days — instead of the full course — the antibiotic may wipe out some, but not all, of the bacteria. The surviving bacteria become more resistant and can be spread to other people. When bacteria become resistant to first line treatments, the risk of complications and death is increased.

The failure of first line antibiotics also means that doctors have to resort to less conventional medications, many of which are more costly and associated with more-serious side effects. For instance, the drugs needed to treat drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis (TB) are much more expensive than are the drugs used to treat nonresistant TB. The course of treatment is long — up to two years — and the side effects can be severe.

Other consequences are the increased costs associated with prolonged illnesses, including expenses for additional tests, treatments and hospitalization, and indirect costs, such as lost income.

Read the full report via the MayoClinic.com

 

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Rise of the Superbugs

By Geoff Thompson and Mary Ann Jolley

Antibiotics are the wonder drugs of modern medicine. They’ve allowed doctors to save and extend life by killing infection and enabling ground breaking surgery. But imagine a world where antibiotics don’t work – that would be a place dominated by superbugs, bacteria that don’t respond to antibiotics. Scientists say this would end many modern medical procedures and they claim the threat is greater than we realise.

Four Corners reporter Geoff Thompson looks at the rise of superbugs, visiting the hot spots around the world where the misuse of antibiotics is creating a breeding ground for these bacteria and he tells the horrific stories of those who’ve contracted infections that can’t be controlled. He also reveals that Australian health officials are making decisions that could open the way for a deadly superbug to infect Australians living in the far north of the country.

“…Every time we take an antibiotic we’re giving the bug a chance to become a superbug … the more of us that take antibiotics inappropriately, the greater the chance in the community a superbug will come.”

And that’s exactly what’s happening in India, where antibiotics are not restricted in their use. As a result a new superbug, New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase or NDM-1, has evolved. Not only is it deadly in its own right, it’s also capable of genetically modifying other bacteria to make them superbugs.

Superbugs like this have infected people who’ve been injured in accidents while travelling overseas. In other cases, apparently healthy people return from abroad only to discover that a simple medical procedure effectively unleashes the bug. In one instance, a healthy middle-aged man went for a prostate biopsy. The procedure was done successfully but one day later he became desperately ill. A superbug, possibly contracted while travelling overseas, had moved from his bowel into his bloodstream making him critically ill.

In the Western Province of Papua New Guinea, close to the Australian border, the misuse of antibiotics has contributed to the rise of a superbug form of Tuberculosis. For seven years the Queensland and Federal Governments funded TB clinics for PNG nationals in the Torres Strait. These clinics were the last line of defence that could stop the superbug coming to the Australian mainland. But the closure of these clinics in June this year has left the job of treating TB patients with the PNG Government , funded by AusAID. This could increase the risk of superbug TB coming to Australia.

Watch Rise of the Superbugs HERE

“Rise of the Superbugs”, reported by Geoff Thompson and presented by Kerry O’Brien, aired on Monday 29th October on ABC 1 at 8.30 pm.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, and educational issues. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

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Biocides, drug resistance and microbial evolution

Volume 4, Issue 3, 1 June 2001, Pages 313–317

  • David G White
  • Patrick F McDermott
  • Office of Research, Center for Veterinary Medicine, US Food and Drug Administration, 8401 Muirkirk Road, Laurel, Maryland 20708, USA

Antimicrobial biocides are widely used in critical human health situations in which rigorous infection control is needed. Increasingly, biocidal agents are being marketed for home use, although there is little evidence that they significantly improve home hygiene. Biocide resistance mechanisms share many themes with antibiotic resistance mechanisms.

Read the Scientific Journal Full Text Here

David G White, Patrick F McDermott, Biocides, drug resistance and microbial evolution, Current Opinion in Microbiology, Volume 4, Issue 3, 1 June 2001, Pages 313-317, ISSN 1369-5274, 10.1016/S1369-5274(00)00209-5.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1369527400002095)
Keywords: biocide; efflux; antibiotic resistance; disinfectant; triclosan; evolution; dissemination

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, and educational issues. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

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Alfonso J. Alanis, Resistance to Antibiotics: Are We in the Post-Antibiotic Era?, Archives of Medical Research, Volume 36, Issue 6, November–December 2005, Pages 697-705, ISSN 0188-4409, 10.1016/j.arcmed.2005.06.009.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0188440905002730)
Abstract: Serious infections caused by bacteria that have become resistant to commonly used antibiotics have become a major global healthcare problem in the 21st century. They not only are more severe and require longer and more complex treatments, but they are also significantly more expensive to diagnose and to treat. Antibiotic resistance, initially a problem of the hospital setting associated with an increased number of hospital-acquired infections usually in critically ill and immunosuppressed patients, has now extended into the community causing severe infections difficult to diagnose and treat. The molecular mechanisms by which bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics are diverse and complex. Bacteria have developed resistance to all different classes of antibiotics discovered to date. The most frequent type of resistance is acquired and transmitted horizontally via the conjugation of a plasmid. In recent times new mechanisms of resistance have resulted in the simultaneous development of resistance to several antibiotic classes creating very dangerous multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacterial strains, some also known as “superbugs”. The indiscriminate and inappropriate use of antibiotics in outpatient clinics, hospitalized patients and in the food industry is the single largest factor leading to antibiotic resistance. In recent years, the number of new antibiotics licensed for human use in different parts of the world has been lower than in the recent past. In addition, there has been less innovation in the field of antimicrobial discovery research and development. The pharmaceutical industry, large academic institutions or the government are not investing the necessary resources to produce the next generation of newer safe and effective antimicrobial drugs. In many cases, large pharmaceutical companies have terminated their anti-infective research programs altogether due to economic reasons. The potential negative consequences of all these events are relevant because they put society at risk for the spread of potentially serious MDR bacterial infections.
Keywords: Antibiotic resistance; Bacterial resistance; New antibiotics; Antibiotic research

Resistance to Antibiotics: Are We in the Post-Antibiotic Era?

Serious infections caused by bacteria that have become resistant to commonly used antibiotics have become a major global healthcare problem in the 21st century. They not only are more severe and require longer and more complex treatments, but they are also significantly more expensive to diagnose and to treat. Antibiotic resistance, initially a problem of the hospital setting associated with an increased number of hospital-acquired infections usually in critically ill and immunosuppressed patients, has now extended into the community causing severe infections difficult to diagnose and treat. The molecular mechanisms by which bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics are diverse and complex. Bacteria have developed resistance to all different classes of antibiotics discovered to date. The most frequent type of resistance is acquired and transmitted horizontally via the conjugation of a plasmid. In recent times new mechanisms of resistance have resulted in the simultaneous development of resistance to several antibiotic classes creating very dangerous multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacterial strains, some also known as “superbugs”. The indiscriminate and inappropriate use of antibiotics in outpatient clinics, hospitalized patients and in the food industry is the single largest factor leading to antibiotic resistance. In recent years, the number of new antibiotics licensed for human use in different parts of the world has been lower than in the recent past. In addition, there has been less innovation in the field of antimicrobial discovery research and development. The pharmaceutical industry, large academic institutions or the government are not investing the necessary resources to produce the next generation of newer safe and effective antimicrobial drugs. In many cases, large pharmaceutical companies have terminated their anti-infective research programs altogether due to economic reasons. The potential negative consequences of all these events are relevant because they put society at risk for the spread of potentially serious MDR bacterial infections.

Read the Full Text Journal Here

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FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, and educational issues. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

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If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.